Saturday, June 30, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: The Knitter's Guide to Yarn Cocktails by Anastasia Blaes and Kelly Wilson

Taking their inspiration from the cocktail set, Anastasia Blaes and Kelly Wilson have created a knitting book aimed at the new generation of knitters. Each project in The Knitter’s Guide to Yarn Cocktails: 30 Technique-Expanding Recipes for Tasty Little Projects is inspired by a popular cocktail and focuses on a specific skill, allowing knitters to learn skills incrementally. Eventually these “ingredients” may be mixed together, enabling knitters to undertake the more advanced projects in the book. While a few of the projects are suitable for beginning knitters, the majority are for intermediate or experienced knitters.

The book is laid out following the cocktail motif. The first chapter “Ingredients” covers knitting basics: knitting tools, terminology, yarn and knitting abbreviations. The following chapters group projects by drink category such as “classic cocktails” (textured knitting), “martini drinks” (cables) and “garnish with a twist” (edgings). While the cocktail motif is initially amusing, the novelty wears off and knitters may find it all a bit too cute. One helpful item is the ice cube illustration included in some patterns, standing for “refresh”. This icon indicates that techniques used in the pattern are referenced earlier in Yarn Cocktails and helpfully, the authors have include the page reference for the technique.

Most of the patterns here are geared to the younger knitter, with the majority of patterns being for accessories rather than clothing. Clothing patterns include five tops (of the camisole persuasion), two skirts, boxers, knickers and a lace vest.

The final chapter includes recipes for all the drinks referenced in the book, although this reviewer would not recommend drinking and knitting as it can lead to a great deal of day after ripping.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 1592533191
ISBN13: 9781592533190

Spiral Bound, Softcover
160 Pages
Publisher: Quarry Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Author Websites: and


Friday, June 29, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Imagine Harry by Kate Klise

Little Rabbit’s best friend Harry is very special. They play in the snow, swim in the summer months and watch out for each other. Little Rabbit is always looking out for Harry’s interests, ensuring his mother brings Harry a glass of lemonade and his share of the cookies – and make sure she doesn’t sit on him. Little Rabbit’s other friends call his best friend “Imagine Harry” but that’s only because they can’t see him.

When it’s time for Little Rabbit to start school, his mother tells him Harry can go with him but only if he sits quietly and is very good. As Little Rabbit becomes more involved with school life and his new friends, Harry slips into the background until the day it is revealed that he has “moved away.”

Sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise’s newest collaboration, Imagine Harry, is a poignant story of friendship, whether real or imagined. The beauty of this simple tale is the understanding with which Little Rabbit’s mother treats Harry. There is no condescension, only the same acceptance shown to his “real” friends.

Many children have a period of their life shared with imaginary friends and Imagine Harry is a respectful way to help young ones understand that such friendships fade with time. At the beginning, Sarah’s soft illustrations contain empty spaces symbolizing Harry and, as the story progresses, the empty spaces become smaller.

Young children will find much to identify with in this gentle story. Starting school, and the need to make new friends, can be a scary experience for many children. Imagine Harry may help make this transition an easier one for families.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 0152057048
ISBN13: 9780152057046

32 Pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publication Date: June 1, 2007


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - McArthur & Company

McArthur & Company is a Canadian-owned and operated publisher and distributor of Canadian and international fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. In addition to its own titles, McArthur & Company distributes Orion Publishing Group and Hodder Headline books in Canada, two great British publishers.

* The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code by Robert Rankin (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Fade by Chris Wooding (Hardcover, December 2007)
* Nova Swing by M. John Harrison (Trade Paperback, January 2008)
* Jack of Ravens by Mark Chadbourn (Trade Paperback, February 2008)

Hodder & Stoughton
* First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde (Hardcover, July 2007)
* Dark Flight by Lin Anderson (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Green is the New Black by Tamsin Blanchard (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* The Bad Quarto by Jill Paton Walsh (Trade Paperback, November 2007)

Hodder Headline
* The Man who was Thursday: a Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Reading in Bed by Sue Gee (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Roaring of the Labyrinth by Clio Gray (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Foolish Mortals by Jennifer Johnston (Hardcover, October 2007)
* I Did a Bad Thing by Linda Green (Trade Paperback, December 2007)
* The Ingenious Edgar Jones by Elizabeth Garner (Hardcover, January 2008)

McArthur & Company
* The Perfect Summer: Dancing in the Shadow of 1911 by Juliet Nicolson (Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* Wind Tales: a Novel by Anne DeGrace (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Rain Dogs and Love Cats by Andrew Holmes (Sceptre, Hardcover, September 2007)
* My Mother’s Lovers by Christopher Hope (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Fault Lines by Nancy Huston (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Diplomatic Corpse by Anne Marshall Zwack (John Murray, Trade Paperback, September 2007)

* Vienna by Eva Menasse (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Touché: a French Woman’s take on the English by Agnès Catherine Poirier (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Last Days of Newgate by Andrew Pepper (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* A Hidden Life by Adèle Geras (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Welcome to the Working Week by Paul Vlitos (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Maggie’s Tree: a Novel by Julie Walters (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Tiggy by Miss Read (Hardcover, December 2007)
* Jumping the Cracks by Victoria Blake (Hardcover, January 2008)
* The Making of Mia by Ilana Fox (Hardcover, February 2008)
* Bitter Chocolate by Lesley Lokko (Hardcover, February 2008)


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - Publishers Group Canada

Publishers Group Canada represents over 130 independent publishers including Carroll & Graf, Grove Atlantic and Canongate Books.

Black Cat
* Turpentine by Spring Warren (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Cry of the Dove by Fadia Faqir (Trade Paperback, October 2007)

Carroll & Graf
* I Never Saw Paris: a novel of the afterlife by Harry I. Freund (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Selfish and Perverse: a novel by Bob Smith (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Forgotten Gospels: early, lost, and historical writings on the life and teachings of Jesus by Tim Newton (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* A Dead Man in Tangier by Michael Pearce (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Capote in Kansas: a ghost story by Kim Powers (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Beneath the Metropolis: the secret lives of cities by Alex Marshall (Trade Paperback, November 2007)

Grove Atlantic
* Ancestor Stones: a Novel by Aminatta Forna (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Berlin: a Novel by Pierre Frei (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama by Thomas Laird (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Lost Paradise: a Novel by Cees Nooteboom (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Moist: a Novel by Mark Haskell Smith (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* The Bible: a Biography, Books that Shook the World by Karen Armstrong (Hardcover, November 2007)

Seven Stories Press
* Goodbye, Mr. Socialism by Antonio Negri and Raf Scelsi (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The tongue’s blood does not run dry: Algerian stories by Assia Djebar (Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* The Contenders: Hillary, John, Al, Dennis, Barack, et al. by Laura Flanders, Richard Goldstein, Dean Kuipers, James Ridgeway, Eli Sanders and Dan Savage (Trade Paperback, November 2007)

Picks from other publishers distributed by Publishers Group Canada
* Time Out 1000 Books to Change Your Life edited by Jonathan Derbyshire (Time Out, Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* Gone and Back Again by Jonathan Scott Fuqua (Soft Skull Press, Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* A Covenant of Salt by Martine Desjardines (Talonbooks, Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Falling: a novel by Olivia Liberty (Atlantic Books, Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Waterbaby by Cris Mazza (Soft Skull Press, Hardcover, September 2007)
* Gold by Dan Rhodes (Canongate, Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Confessions of a Sugar Mommy by Emma Tennant (Gibson Square Books, Hardcover, September 2007)
* When to Walk by Rebecca Gowers (Canongate, Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Racing the Dark by Alaya Dawn Johnson (Agate Bolden, Hardcover, October 2007)
* Jack Kerouac’s American Journey: the real life odyssey of “On the Road” by Paul Maher, Jr. (Thunder’s Mouth Press, Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Ciao Bella: Lolita in Italy by Helena Frith Powell (Gibson Square Books, Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* Leaving Brooklyn by Lynne Sharon Schwartz (Hawthorne Books, Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* Shame in the Blood: a novel by Tetsuo Miura (Shoemaker & Hoard, Hardcover, December 2007)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - Perseus Book Group

The Perseus Book Group was "founded with the belief that insightful books of quality are both necessary and desirable. That an innovative model is possible, where the power of the group supports editorial freedom, creative energy, and quality publishing. That authors, readers, booksellers -- and books -- matter."

Their imprints include a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children. They distribute the imprints: Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs, Running Press, Basic Civitas, Counterpoint, Vanguard Press, and Westview Press

The following are my picks from Counterpoint and Da Capo Press:

* A Man of No Moon: a Novel by Jenny McPhee (Hardcover, September 2007)
* An Absolute Gentleman: a Novel by R.M. Kinder (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Shelley and the Maiden: the death of Fanny Wollstonecraft by Janet Todd (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Opposition Leader’s Husband: a Novel by Deborah Schupack (Hardcover, January 2008)
* Swallow the Ocean: a Memoir by Laura Flynn (Hardcover, February 2008)

Da Capo Press
* The Great Arab Conquests: how the spread of Islam changed the world we live in by Hugh Kennedy (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Archimedes Codex: how a medieval prayer book is revealing the true genius of antiquity’s greatest scientist by Reviel Netz and William Noel (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: First Journals and Poems: 1937 - 1952 by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Juanita Lieberman-Plimpton and Bill Morgan (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* The Strange Case of Hellish Nell: the true story of Helen Duncan and the witch trial of World War II by Nina Shandler (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants: a Memoir by Jaed Coffin (Hardcover, February 2008)


Monday, June 25, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - Raincoast Books

Raincoast Books is a Canadian publisher and distributor producing a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults and children. They distribute many well-known imprints in Canada including: Bloomsbury UK, Harcourt, & Hesperus Press, as well as many others. A full list is available on their website.

The following are my picks from their upcoming lineup:

Alma Books
* Boy by James Hanley (Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* Men in Space by Tom McCarthy (Hardcover, September 2007)

Bloomsbury UK
* How to Talk about Book You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Playing with Grownups by Sophie Dahl (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Blank Gaze by José Luis Peixoto (Hardcover, December 2007)
* The Journal of Dora Damage by Belinda Starling (Trade Paperback, December 2007)

Bloomsbury USA
* The Monster Hunter’s Handbook: the ultimate guide to saving mankind from vampires, zombies, hellhounds and other mythical beasts by Ibrahim S. Amin (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Indian Clerk: a Novel by David Leavitt (Hardcover, September 2007)

Harcourt, Inc.
* Aaronsohn’s Maps: the untold story of the man who might have created peace in the Middle East by Patricia Goldstone (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Work Shirts for Madmen: a Novel by George Singleton (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Theory of Clouds: a Novel by Stéphane Audeguy (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Far Traveler: voyages of a Viking woman by Nancy Marie Brown (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Blood Matters: a journey along the genetic frontier by Masha Gessen (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Inside by Kenneth J. Harvey (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Season of Betrayal by Margaret Lowrie Robertson (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Turning Back the Clock: hot wars and media populism by Umberto Eco (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Sister Bernadette’s Barking Dog: the quirky history and lost art of diagramming sentences by Kitty Burns Florey (Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* The Blue Door: a Mystery by David Fulmer (Hardcover, January 2008)
* The Lost Luggage Porter by Andrew Martin (Trade Paperback, January 2008)
* Saturday’s Child by Ray Banks (Hardcover, February 2008)
* This Human Season by Louise Dean (Trade Paperback, February 2008)
* The Konkans by Tony D’Souza (Hardcover, February 2008)
* The Dead of Summer by Camilla Way (Hardcover, February 2008)
* A Short History of the American Stomach by Frederick Kaufman (Hardcover, February 2008)
* The Executor: a comedy of letters by Michael Kruger (Hardcover, February 2008)
* Lady of the Snakes: a Novel by Rachel Pastan (Hardcover, February 2008)

Hesperus Press
* The Club of Queer Trades by G.K. Chesterton (Trade Paperback, July 2007)
* The Gipsy’s Baby by Rosamond Lehmann (Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* Hyde Park Gate News: the Stephen family newspaper by Virginia Woolf (Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* The Scortas’ Sun by Laurent Gaudé (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Turn by Luigi Pirandello (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Corsican Brothers by Alexandre Dumas (Trade Paperback, November 2007)

* Kitchen Playdates: easy ideas for entertaining that include the kids by Lauren Bank Deen (Chronicle Books, Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* The Guerilla Art Kit: everything you need to put your message out into the world by Keri Smith (Princeton Architectural Press, Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* The Game of Cards by Adolf Schroder (Pushkin Press, Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* The Angry Years: a literary chronicle by Colin Wilson (Robson Books, Hardcover, August 2007)
* Red Princess: a revolutionary life by Sofka Zinovieff (Granta Books, Trade Paperback, August 2007)
* You Can Save the Planet: a day in the life of your carbon footprint by Rich Hough and the Guardian (A & C Black, Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Bible: Genesis, Exodus, the Song of Solomon illustrated by Marc Chagall (Chronicle Books, Hardcover, October 2007)
* Water is Key: a better future for Africa by Gil Garcetti (Princeton Architectural Press, Hardcover, October 2007)
* Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the secret trade in nuclear weapons by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark (Walker & Company, Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Crimes of Dr. Watson: an interactive Sherlock Holmes mystery by John H. Watson, M.D. (Quirk Books, Hardcover, October 2007)
* India Arriving: how this economic powerhouse is redefining global business by Rafiq Dossani (AMACOM, Hardcover, November 2007)


Friday, June 15, 2007

Summer Contest - Hidden Treasures of Fiction

Susan at West of Mars is having another contest and this time I'm giving all of you lots of notice. This summer's theme is Hidden Treasures of fiction; books or authors who have never gotten near the Best-seller list (any of them) but who you think deserve to be. So review your own books, your best friend, or that weird guy around the corner who happened to write a brilliant book (even if you cross the street when you see him coming) or that deserving author you've been keeping secret. Our hope is that this contest will help promote middle-list authors who are often overlooked in favour of the blockbuster novels and hopefully boost the authors' sales.

The rules are simple:
1. Find a book that's a Hidden Treasure. That means a book that hasn't made it to a best-seller list anywhere that you can find. A suggested reading list is available at Feel free to find your own treasure, though.
2. The book MUST be from a royalty-paying publisher. If in doubt, ask Susan.
3. Read it.
4. Post a review somewhere on the Internet between July 15 and August 15 (some popular locations for the last contest were reviewers' websites or blogs,, and/or
5. Sign the Mr. Linky at West of Mars. Include the permalink for your review.
6. Yes, you can use a Hidden Treasure book that fulfills another contest or reading challenge.
7. Yes, you can review more than one book.
8. If, for some reason, you don't want to win a prize, let Susan know.
9. If you have suggestions for the Hidden Treasures Suggested Reading List, or a prize to offer the winners, drop Susan an e-mail at susan at westofmars dot com.
10. Prizes will be awarded August 20. Winners will be contacted and winning list will be posted no later than 22 August; be sure to have a way for us to contact you.

Pretty simple right? So spend the next month deciding on your book(s) and I look forward to reading your reviews.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - Random House of Canada

Over the next week or two I will be posting reflections on BookExpo Canada, as well as my picks from the various publishers' Fall 2007 lines. I came home from BEC with several bags of these catalogues (with the resulting sore shoulders) and more arrive on my doorstep each day. To start off the post-BEC recap, today I am highlighting my picks of Random House of Canada's Fall lines. As always, these picks are provided with the proviso that these are my top picks and being left off this list in no way reflects on the merits of a particular title.

Bond Street Books
* Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Hardcover, September 2007)
* My Father’s Country: the Story of a German Family by Wibke Bruhns (Hardcover, January 2008)

* The Witch’s Trinity: a Novel by Erika Mailman (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Charm City: a Walk through Baltimore by Madison Smartt Bell (Hardcover, November 2007)

Doubleday Canada
* Conceit: a Novel by Mary Novik (Hardcover, August 2007)
* The Assassin’s Song by M.G. Vassanji (Hardcover, August 2007)
* An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century by James Orbinski, M.D. (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell (Hardcover, November 2007)

Knopf Canada
* Cloud of Bone by Bernice Morgan (Hardcover, August 2007)
* Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Other Colors by Orhan Pamuk (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Cheating at Canasta: Short Stories by William Trevor (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Turtle Valley by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Clean: an Unsanitized History of Washing our Bodies by Katherine Ashenburg (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Kennedy’s Brain by Henning Mankell (Hardcover, October 2007)

Random House Canada
* Tomorrow by Graham Swift (Hardcover, August 2007)
* The Culprits by Robert Hough (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Geography of Hope: a Tour of the World we Need by Chris Turner (Hardcover, October 2007)

Shaye Areheart Books
* The Long Walk Home: a Novel by Will North (Hardcover, August 2007)
* Last Night I Dreamed of Peace: the Diary of Dang Thuy Tram translated by Andrew X. Pham (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Kingdom of Bones: a Novel by Stephen Gallagher (Hardcover, October 2007)

Vintage Canada
* Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Trade Paperback, September 2007) - Adichie was recently awarded the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction for this novel.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: What Time is it, Mr. Crocodile? by Judy Sierra

Mr. Crocodile has carefully planned out his day - he even wrote out a schedule - but everything goes awry when the mischievous monkeys arrive. Everywhere he goes, the monkeys follow and all Mr. Crocodile wants is to rid himself of the annoying creatures. That is, until he has a change of heart, decides to make friends and enjoy all their antics.

What Time is it, Mr. Crocodile? is the perfect volume to introduce young children to the concept of time. Each spread begins with the line “What Time is it, Mr. Crocodile?” (a line children will quickly begin shouting for you) and the artwork features a large, clear image of the clock with the time corresponding to Mr. Crocodile’s schedule.

Children will delight in the impish monkeys and the trouble they find while adults will enjoy the pacing on the answers and will quickly adopt a sing-songy tone:

“Time to capture my meal
as I sit at the wheel
of my marvelous
monkey-collecting mobile.”

Doug Cushman has hidden treats for adults in his illustrations; a copy of “Newton and the Law of Gravity” being dropped on the crocodile’s head and images which conjure memories of the rhyme “Five little monkeys bouncing on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head.”

The most delightful aspect of What Time is it, Mr. Crocodile? is Cushman’s illustrations. His vivid images bring the impish monkeys and grumpy crocodile to life and their vitality almost leaps off the page. Don’t be surprised if your little ones respond by wiggling and bouncing along with the monkeys.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 0152058508
ISBN13: 9780152058500

32 Pages
Publisher: Voyager Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2007


Monday, June 11, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Balloons Balloons Balloons by Dee Lillegard

One morning, a mysterious rabbit floats over town in a hot-air balloon, releasing thousands of balloons on the unsuspecting population below. The adults are confused and frustrated at the mess the balloons make but the children are delighted, quickly choosing their favourite colours. At the end of the day, the balloonist sails on, leaving behind a colourful gift to mark his passage.

Dee Lillegard’s rhyming, yet simple prose is sure to delight children. The rhyming stanzas lend themselves to being memorized.

“Selena gets a pink one
A squiddy-black-ink one
A white as a sink one
Balloons Balloons Balloons”

The repetitive nature and minimal vocabulary of Lillegard’s tale makes it perfect for beginning readers.

All the necessary ingredients are present in Bernadette Pons’ captivating illustrations for Balloons Balloons Balloons. Bright colours and lots of small details fill these spreads, providing endless fodder for the game of “can you find the…” Children will giggle with delight at the disruption the balloons cause adults; glasses get knocked off their faces, cereal is spilled, and a game of tennis is interrupted.

Help the child in your life determine their favourite colour and then help them learn to count as you hunt for all the balloons of that colour in Balloons Balloons Balloons.

Read the review at Armchair Interviews.

ISBN10: 0525459405
ISBN13: 9780525459408

32 Pages
Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2007


BOOK REVIEW: Lacy Little Knits by Iris Schreier

In the introduction to Lacy Little Knits: Clingy, Soft & a Little Risqué, Iris Schreier begins with two questions: “How can something as beautiful as knitted lace be so frustrating? And knowing this, why on earth do we feel so strongly compelled to create it?” In an effort to avoid the frustration and make lace more accessible, Schreier has tossed out the rules and developed a system to teach knitters how to “read their lace.” The result is designs knitters can start and stop at any point - and even knit while watching T.V.

The twenty-five patterns in Lacy Little Knits build in difficulty, beginning with fairly standard patterns and moving to those featuring multidirectional knitting. The first chapter covers the basics of the stitch patterns and techniques featured in Schreier’s designs. Her goal is that knitters will “be able to understand the construction of the garment…to the point of being able to knit it without having to follow line-by-line instructions.” To that end she includes a section of tips to help knitters ensure success by reading their work.

The majority of the patterns in Lacy Little Knits are for sweaters; however, Schreier also includes two skirt patterns, a sheath, several shrugs and wraps, and one hat. Sizing for the sweater designs range from finished chest measurements of 30” to 51” with the majority falling in the 36” to 44” range. Patterns are shown knit in Art Yarns but all the instructions are given in generic yarns with approximate yardage requirements (e.x. merino wool medium-weight yarn or 3mm-wide silk ribbon). Designs with negative ease include the worn measurement, as well as unstretched measurement. Knitters wishing to undertake additional projects using Schreier’s techniques will find them at

ISBN10: 1579907172
ISBN13: 9781579907174

144 Pages
Publisher: Lark Books
Publication Date: July 1, 2007
Book Website:


Sunday, June 10, 2007

BOOK REVIEW: Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

Gabriel Blackstone is an information pirate. He began his career as a “remote viewer (RV)” for Eyestorm, a government-run institution which trained psychics and individuals able to tap into the consciousness of others and “slam the ride.” After a ride ends with a murdered child rather than an incarcerated kidnapper, Gabriel walks away from Eyestorm and focuses solely on making money. His chosen profession is hacker for hire, getting his thrills from riding the information highway and penetrating closely guarded corporate networks.

Life gets complicated when Cecily Franck reappears in Gabriel’s life, asking him to investigate the disappearance of her stepson Robert. Cecily is an RV, as well as his former lover, a relationship which ended with his departure from Eyestorm. Reluctantly Gabriel looks into Robert’s relationships and soon believes that Robert was murdered by one of two sisters – Morrighan or Minnaloushe Monk. Descendants of occultist John Dee, the Monk sisters are “solar” witches engaged in alchemy and the “Art of Memory,” a process of building memory palaces in the mind to achieve transformation and ultimate power. After hacking into their computer, Gabriel discovers a diary written by “M” and soon is captivated, falling deeply in love with the writer. Now to save himself, he must uncover which sister is the writer - Minnaloushe, the romantic intellectual or Morrighan, the daring adventurer - and find out if the woman he loves killed Robert.

As Season of the Witch opens, Gabriel is little more than a cardboard character, the stereotypical action hero brashly confident of his own abilities. Instead of being repulsed by this, readers should persist with the story for Mostert slowly peels away the layers to show Gabriel as a flawed human, hiding within a shell of arrogance and superiority. Mostert’s writing immerses readers within a world of artifice and construction, where everything possesses multiple layers of meaning. She ensures that by the critical plot moment, readers care deeply about Gabriel and identify with him, flaws and all.

Mostert’s attention to character development does not end with Gabriel. Minnaloushe and Morrighan are both lovingly drawn with each possessing a distinct personality and manner of speech. The secondary characters are also infused with the necessary small details to flesh out their character. Isidore, Gabriel’s business partner, is quickly defined by his love of loud music and the virtual world and early on in the novel his personality comes close to overwhelming that of Gabriel.

Season of the Witch is a carefully constructed mystery, one which exposes greater depths with each reading. Extensive research into alchemy, history, the occult, theories of memory and philosophy has obviously been carried out by Mostert and she possesses vast knowledge of her chosen subject. Mostert has placed the Monk sisters’ grail quest within a modernistic setting, fusing the modern with the data storage methods of an earlier age to create a wholly unique commentary on memory within the information age. As an academic explains to Gabriel “Our memories have become flaccid because of all the technological tools we use…Citizens of Ancient Greece and Rome would find your attention span laughable…Modern man is increasingly incapable of internalizing knowledge…we…forget what we’ve read almost as soon as we’ve read it.” Her choice of topic - the drive for gnosis, knowledge of the universe and enlightenment – dares readers to engage with her novel as more than just entertainment. She expects readers to face her challenge and expand their knowledge and understanding of the world.

Read the review at Curled Up with a Good Book.

ISBN10: 0525950036
ISBN13: 9780525950035

416 Pages
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: April 24, 2007
Author Website:


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Here are my picks from Farrar, Straus and Giroux's Fall 2007 line. I head off tomorrow to BookExpo Canada so I'll have a great deal more information about the major fall lines in a few days.

* The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennett (Hardcover, September 2007)
* White Rapids: the rise and fall of a Canadian town by Pascal Blanchet (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Water Cure: a Novel by Percival Everett (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Tree of Smoke: a Novel by Denis Johnson (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sís (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You: a Novel by Peter Cameron (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Soldier's Heart: Reading Literature through Peace and War at West Point by Elizabeth D. Samet (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Bad Girl: a Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa (Hardcover, October 2007)
* American Transcendentalism: a History by Philip F. Gura (Hardcover, November 2007)
* The Quiet Girl: a Novel by Peter Hoeg (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Terra: Our 100-million-year-old ecosystem - and the threats that now put it at risk by Michael Novacek (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Ark of the Liberties: America and the World by Ted Widmer (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Beethoven was One-Sixteenth Black and Other Stories by Nadine Gordimer (Hardcover, December 2007)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Fall 2007 Titles - H.B. Fenn & Company

The fall/winter catalogues are arriving, and with them a great deal of anticipation. H.B. Fenn is the Canadian Distributor for many big name publishers including St. Martin's Press, Little, Brown and Company and Tor/Forge Books. For a complete list of the publishers they distribute, click here. What follows are my picks from H.B. Fenn & Company's Fall 2007 lineup.

Grand Central Publishing (formerly known as Warner Books)
* Abraham's Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People by Jon Entine (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Complete Book of Aunts by Rupert Christiansen with Beth Brophy (Hardcover, November 2007)
* The Pulpwood Queens' Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life by Kathy L. Patrick (Trade Paperback, January 2008)
* The Crazy School by Cornelia Read (Hardcover, January 2008)
* The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson (Hardcover, March 2008)

* Bliss: a Novel by O.Z. Livaneli (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Room for Love by Andrea Meyer (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Midori by Moonlight by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Homemade Biography: How to Collect, Record, and Tell the LIfe Story of Someone You Love by Tom Zoellner (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* How to Read a Novel: a User's Guide by John Sutherland (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America by Jonathan Miller (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* The Courtyard: a Novel by Marcia Willett (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts (Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* Indiscretion: a Novel by Jude Morgan (Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* Bones, Rocks, and Stars: the Science of When Things Happened by Chris Turney (Trade Paperback, November 2007)

H.B. Fenn
* Daughters of the Doge by Edward Charles (Hardcover, August 2007)
* The Great North Road by Annabel Dore (Hardcover, September 15, 2007)
* Daughter of the Desert: the remarkable life of Gertrude Bell by Georgina Howell (Trade Paperback, October 21, 2007)
* Cover the Mirrors by Faye Booth (Hardcover, December 15, 2007)
* Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki (Trade Paperback, February 2008)

Henry Holt and Company
As always, Henry Holt has strong non-fiction offers; however, this fall is noteworthy as two heavy-hitters release books presenting their take on our post 9/11 world - Naomi Klein (perhaps best known for No Logo) and Susan Faludi (author of the bestseller Backlash). I'm sure both will stir up lots of debate with pundits of all stripes and colours.

* Indian Summer: the Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex von Tunzelmann (Hardcover, August 2007)
* The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America by Susan Faludi (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Fight Global Warming Now: the Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community by Bill McKibben and the Step It Up Team (Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* The Spirit of Democracy: the Challenge of Building Free Societies throughout the World by Larry Diamond (Hardcover, December 2007)

Little, Brown and Company
* The Italian Lover: a Novel by Robert Hellenga (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Electric Church by Jeff Somers (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits by Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Gods Behaving Badly: a Novel by Marie Phillips (Hardcover, December 2007)
* Beginner's Greek: a Novel by James Collins (Hardcover, January 2008)
* Sway: a Novel by Zachary Lazar (Hardcover, January 2008)
* Slip of the Knife: a Novel by Denise Mina (Hardcover, February 2008)
* The Late Mr. Shakespeare: a Novel by Robert Nye (Trade Paperback, Reissue, February 2008)
* Liberation: a Novel by Joanna Scott (Trade Paperback, February 2008)
* Black Ships by Jo Graham (Trade Paperback, March 2008)

* Eucalyptus: a Novel by Murray Bail (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* All for Love: a Novel by Dan Jacobson (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* Cion: a Novel by Zakes Mda (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* The Best Intentions: Kofi Annan and the UN in the Era of American World Power by James Traub (Trade Paperback, November 2007)

St. Martin's Minotaur
* Heartsick: a Novel by Chelsea Cain (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Unspoken: a Mystery by Mari Jungstedt (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Voices: a Thriller by Arnaldur Indridason (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Not Quite Dead by John MacLachlan Gray (Hardcover, November 2007)
* The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Strange Blood: a Crime Novel by Lindsay Jayne Ashford (Hardcover, December 2007)

St. Martin's Press
* Red Sea: a Novel by Emily Benedek (Hardcover, September 2007)
* The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula by Eric Nuzum (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Smart Girls Like Me: a Novel by Diane Vadino (Hardcover, September 2007)
* Calligraphy of the Witch: a Novel by Alicia Gaspar de Alba (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft & Conflict in Early New England by Emerson W. Baker (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Title Deeds: Growing Up in Macbeth's Castle by Liza Campbell (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Dandelion: a Memoir by Catherine James (Hardcover, October 2007)
* The Abstinence Teacher: a Novel by Tom Perrotta (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Garcia's Heart: a Novel by Liam Durcan (Trade Paperback, November 2007)
* Symphony: a Novel by Jude Morgan (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Edward VI: The Lost King of England by Chris Skidmore (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Different Engines: How Science drives Fiction and Fiction drives Science by Professor Mark Brake and Reverend Neil Hook (Hardcover, December 2007)
* Looking for Hamlet by Marvin W. Hunt (Hardcover, December 2007)

Tor Books
* Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge (Trade Paperback, September 2007)
* God's Demon by Wayne Barlowe (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Ha'Penny by Jo Walton (Hardcover, October 2007)
* Counting Heads by David Marusek (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Not Flesh Nor Feathers by Cherie Priest (Trade Paperback, October 2007)
* Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe (Hardcover, November 2007)
* Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (Trade Paperback, November 2007)


Monday, June 04, 2007

Spring & Summer 2007 - More New Titles

This Saturday I head off to BookExpo Canada (the Canadian equivalent of BookExpo America which was held this past weekend) where I will learn all about publishers' Fall lines. So before I am loaded down with Fall 2007 catalogues, I am clearing the decks of a few remaining Spring/Summer catalogues to help inspire your summer reading.

Fitzhenry & Whiteside
* Librarian’s Night Before Christmas by David Davis, illus. by Jim Harris (Pelican Publishing, Trade Paperback, February 2007)
* The Reddening Path by Amanda Hale (Thistledown Press, Trade Paperback, April 2007 [October 2007 in US])
* Searching for Billie: a Novel by Freda Jackson (Touchwood Editions, Trade Paperback, April 2007)
* All in Together Girls by Kate Sutherland (Thistledown Press, Trade Paperback, April 2007 [October 2007 in US])
* Water by H.E. Taylor (Thistledown Press, Trade Paperback, April 2007 [October 2007 in US])
* A Feast of Longing by Sarah Klassen (Coteau Books, Trade Paperback, May 2007)
* Woman on the Other Shore: a Novel by Mitsuyo Kakuta (Kodansha International, Hardcover, August 2007)

Douglas & McIntyre
* Light at the Edge of the World: a Journey through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures by Wade Davis (Douglas & McIntyre, Trade Paperback, February 2007)
* True Pleasures: a Memoir of Women in Paris by Lucinda Holdforth (Greystone Books, Trade Paperback, April 2007)

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
* Arlington Park by Rachel Cusk (Hardcover, January 2007)
* Dancing to “Almendra”: a Novel by Mayra Montero (Hardcover, February 2007)
* Call Me By Your Name: a Novel by André Aciman (Hardcover, February 2007)
* Fieldwork: a Novel by Mischa Berlinski (Hardcover, March 2007)
* Trickster Travels: a Sixteenth-Century Muslim Between Worlds by Natalie Zemon Davis (Trade Paperback, March 2007)
* The Marchesa: a Novel by Simonetta Agnello Hornby (Hardcover, March 2007)
* Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen: a Novel by Alix Kates Shulman (Trade Paperback Reissue, March 2007)
* The Other Side of You: a Novel by Salley Vickers (Hardcover, March 2007)
* The Savage Detectives: a Novel by Roberto Bolaño (Hardcover, April 2007)
* Reading Life: Books for the Ages by Sven Birkerts (Trade Paperback, April 2007)
* Who is Lou Sciortino?: a novel about murder, the movies, and mafia family values by Ottavio Cappellani (Trade Paperback, May 2007)
* The Religion: a Novel (Book One of the Tannhauser Trilogy) by Tim Willocks (Hardcover, May 2007)
* At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman (Hardcover, May 2007)
* Rethinking Thin: the new science of weight loss – and the myths and realities of dieting by Gina Kolata (Hardcover, May 2007)
* Rules for Saying Goodbye: a Novel by Katherine Taylor (Hardcover, June 2007)
* Crossing the Sierra de Gredos: a Novel by Peter Handke (Hardcover, July 2007)
* The Empress of Weehawken: a Novel by Irene Dische (Hardcover, August 2007)