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The Rights Factory's Books of 2019

Updated: Dec 13, 2019



From the jungles of Thailand to mechanical hearts, learn about all the amazing books released by authors at The Rights Factory in 2019.


Non-Fiction


GRIDIRON UNDERGROUND: BLACK AMERICAN JOURNEYS IN CANADIAN FOOTBALL

By James R. Wallen | Published by Dundurn | Biography

“Gridiron Underground zeroes in on turning points in the CFL’s relationship with African American talent and helps us know the men who made them happen.” Literary Review of Canada

Canada couldn’t guarantee them greatness but offered the freedom and opportunity they needed to achieve it.


In 1951, Bernie Custis, a standout quarterback at Syracuse, had his invitation to the national East-West All-Star game rescinded when the organizers discovered he was black. In 1978, Warren Moon — the only player to be inducted into both the Canadian and American football halls of fame — went unselected as a quarterback in the NFL draft.


With the NFL insisting that a black player could not lead a team, generations of promising athletes were denied a chance to compete at the highest levels. But with their minds set on getting the recognition they deserved, many of them found that Canadian teams were ready to welcome them aboard.


Gridiron Underground tells the story of how talented Black American players who were overlooked, ignored, or prevented from playing football in their home country came to Canada, from the 1940s right through to the present day.


BLISSFULLY BLENDED BULLSHIT

By Rebecca Eckler | Published by Dundurn | Memoir

“With her fearless voice, Rebecca Eckler takes us on her soul-baring journey of blending families, navigating the laugh-out-loud moments and heartbreaking realities with her trademark unapologetic honesty.” Samantha Bailey, author of Woman On The Edge

Rebecca Eckler’s newest book chronicles the hard truth of what it’s really like to make a blended family.


Blissfully Blended Bullshit is a witty, engaging, refreshingly candid chronicle of a modern family’s journey as they blend households. We follow Eckler as her partner and his two children move in with her and her daughter. Then, thanks to a reverse vasectomy, they add a baby to the mix. Readers go along for the ride in this poignant, often hilarious tale, as everyone attempts to navigate their new roles: the children, the in-laws, the exes, the ex-in-laws, and even the dog.


Lighthearted and intimate, this is an indispensable story about a family determined to make blended splendid, and the juicy truth of what it’s really like behind closed doors in what is rapidly becoming a typical family makeup. Still, if Eckler had to blend again, would she?


ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY

By Joanne Vannicola | Published by Dundurn | Memoir

“The book has a cinematic feel to it...All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a story about someone figuring out their own identity and claiming it, pushing past layers of abuse, confusion and cultural resistance to define themselves as non-binary long before there was a word for it.” NOW Magazine

Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.


After being pressured to leave home at fourteen, and after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.


Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award–winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and the belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.


HEALTHY AS F*CK: HOW TO GET LEAN, STAY HEALTHY AND GENERALLY KICK ASS AT LIFE

By Oonagh Duncan | Published by Penguin Canada & Sourcebooks USA | Self-Help

“Healthy as F*ck is a different kind of weight-loss book—because it’s not just about dropping pounds; it’s about dropping judgment. Hilarious and legitimately inspiring. I loved it.” Sarah Knight, New York Times bestselling author of Calm the F*ck Down

#1 Globe and Mail Bestseller


Who's ready to stop thinking about weight loss? To free their brain from thoughts about ketones, calories, and fasting? Who wants life to be more effortless, energetic, and empowered?


Welcome to a refreshing and gloriously unapologetic conversation about health, fitness and habits. Award-winning trainer Oonagh Duncan cuts through the wellness clutter to drop some truth bombs: it might not be six-pack abs you're looking for - it might be happiness, confidence, and acceptance. But if losing your belly is what you want, don't let anyone - including yourself - stop you from going after it. And she'll show you how to make it happen.


There's only one major difference between those rare unicorns who have managed to lose weight and the rest of us: their habits. When you acknowledge that following a diet is not getting you anywhere, and you make a few small changes to your everyday routine, you'll find yourself happier and healthy as f*ck.


Fiction


THE DESIRE CARD

By Lee Matthew Goldberg | Published by Fahrenheit Press | Thriller

“Lee Matthew Goldberg has created a Bonfire of the Vanities for a new generation, and served it up with style, wit, and empathy." Laura Benedict, Edgar nominated author of The Stranger Inside

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That's the promise the organization behind The Desire Card gives to its elite clients - but sometimes the price may be more menacing than anyone could ever imagine.


Harrison Stockton has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street fuels his fondness for alcohol and pills at the expense of a family he has no time for. Quite suddenly all of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his job and at the same time discovers he almost certainly has only months left to live.


Desperate, and with seemingly nowhere else left to turn, Harrison activates his Desire Card. What follows is a gritty and gripping quest that takes him from New York City to the slums of Mumbai and forces him to take chances, and make decisions, he never thought he'd ever have to face. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what's right and break his bargain with the mysterious group behind The Desire Card.


The Desire Card is a taut fast-paced thriller, from internationally acclaimed author Lee Matthew Goldberg, that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn't always enough to get everything he desires.


HER SECRET SON

By Hannah Mary McKinnon | Published by Mira Books | Mystery

“Fans of Heather Gudenkauf and Tana French will sink their teeth into this fast-paced, twisty thriller.” — Booklist

When Josh’s longtime partner, Grace, dies in a tragic accident, he is left with a mess of grief—and full custody of her seven-year-old son, Logan. While not his biological father, Josh has been a dad to Logan in every way that counts, and with Grace gone, Logan needs him more than ever.

Wanting to do right by Logan, Josh begins the process of becoming his legal guardian—something that seems suddenly urgent, though Grace always brushed it off as an unnecessary formality. But now, as Josh struggles to find the paperwork associated with Logan’s birth, he begins to wonder whether there were more troubling reasons for Grace’s reluctance to make their family official.

As he digs deeper into the past of the woman he loved, Josh soon finds that there are many dark secrets to uncover, and that the truth about where Logan came from is much more sinister than he could have imagined…


PAPER LIONS

By Sohan S. Koonar | Published by Mawenzi House (NA) & Speaking Tiger (India) | Historical Fiction

“...a very detailed and greatly nuanced panoramic view from the ground of the decades which saw the end of a colonial era and the beginning of the modern Indian nation state.” The Hindu Business Line

Told from three distinct points of view, Paper Lions is an epic multi-generational novel about India, set in the years from the advent of the Second World War to the beginning of modern times in the 1960s.


War brings opportunities and wealth to some; Independence ushers in great hope for the future; and the nation’s Partition brings along horrors, during which fortunes are made and lost, homes destroyed and abandoned, people slaughtered. The years roll on, a new generation arrives.


In the locality of Raikot, Punjab, the three main characters—Bikram, Basanti, and Ajit—and the people around them, including two newly arrived nomadic tribes, the Bajigars, endure hardships and despair, and find moments of joy, as they face life’s challenges. Poignant, tragic, and at the same time exhilarating, Paper Lions brings historical India to itself in the lives of its characters. Through their struggles India comes of age, as they do.


WHERE THE ICE FALLS

By J.E. Barnard | Published by Dundurn | Mystery

“Intense and intriguing, Where the Ice Falls is a vividly spun tale of ghosts, grief, and greed.” —R.M. Greenaway, author of the BC Blues Crime Series

Lacey McCrae tracks down a killer in the frozen hills of rural Alberta.


When Zoe and her teenage daughter discover an ice-covered corpse at her boss’s mountain chalet, ex-Mountie Lacey McCrae trades her Christmas shopping for Victim Services duty. The dead man is Eric, an intern at the Calgary oil company where Zoe works. Reported missing after a blizzard a month earlier, he was presumed dead by misadventure. But his missing car and other inconsistencies point to a suspicious death.


When someone close to Lacey goes missing in similar circumstances, she fears the two cases may be connected. With help from old RCMP colleagues and tips that Zoe swears came from a ghost, Lacey tracks a ruthless killer through the merciless winter wilderness.


THE TICKING HEART

By Andrew Kaufman | Published by Coach House | Fiction

“Irreverent and bursting prose... Fans of Mark Leyner will enjoy Kaufman’s messy string of outrageous scenarios.” —Publishers Weekly

One cold winter night, Charlie shares a cab with a stranger in a purple hat. As they talk, a cloud of purple smoke overwhelms him and he wakes up to find himself behind the only desk in the Epiphany Detective Agency. Charlie, as it turns out, is trapped in Metaphoria, an otherworldly place that reality has forgotten, a place where everything means something else.


His first client is Shirley Miller, who insists on hiring Charlie to find her husband's missing heart. In fact, she's so insistent that she replaces Charlie's heart with a bomb. He has twenty-four hours to find Twiggy Miller's heart -- and its meaning -- or his own will explode.

Tender and brutal, optimistic and despairing, this modern fable by the author of the cult hit All My Friends Are Superheroes takes a fresh look at what it means to fall into, and out of, love.


IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH

By Bianca Marais | Published by Penguin Random House USA | Fiction

“Marais showcases her talent for pulling beauty from the pain of South African history with a strong story and wonderfully imperfect characters.” Publishers Weekly

From the author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words comes a rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries.


In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life.


Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it’s what she can’t have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to heal, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.


As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?


WORRY

By Jessica Westhead | Published by HarperCollins Canada | Fiction

“Jessica Westhead is one of the finest prose writers in this country.” Zoe Whittall, bestselling author of The Best Kind of People

A riveting novel about a mother’s all-consuming worry for her child over forty-eight hours at a remote cottage with old friends and a mysterious neighbour, for fans of Little Fires Everywhere and Truly Madly Guilty.


Ruth is the fiercely protective mother of almost-four-year-old Fern. Together they visit a remote family cottage belonging to Stef, the woman who has been Ruth’s best friend—and Ruth's husband’s best friend—for years. Stef is everything Ruth is not—confident, loud, carefree—and someone Ruth cannot seem to escape. While Fern runs wild with Stef’s older twins and dockside drinks flow freely among the adults, they’re joined by Stef’s neighbour Marvin, a man whose frantic pursuit of fun is only matched by his side comments about his absent wife. As day moves into night and darkness settles over the woods, the edges between these friends and a stranger sharpen until a lingering suspicion becomes an undeniable threat.


RED OBLIVION

By Leslie Shimotakahara | Published by Dundurn | Fiction

“A heartbreaking story in which the past haunts the present and bleeds into the future...She deftly articulates the many ways human beings can justify wrongdoing if it leads to a good outcome, describing the inconceivable with nuance while conveying both shock and banality. Shimotakahara displays virtuosity in this subtle deconstruction of one family's tainted origins.” Kirkus Reviews

Family secrets surface when two sisters travel to Hong Kong to care for their ill father.


When Jill Lau receives an early morning phone call that her elderly father has fallen gravely ill, she and her sister, Celeste, catch the first flight from Toronto to Hong Kong. The man they find languishing in the hospital is a barely recognizable shadow of his old, indomitable self.


According to his housekeeper, a couple of mysterious photographs arrived anonymously in the mail in the days before his collapse. These pictures are only the first link in a chain of events that begin to reveal the truth about their father’s past and how he managed to escape from Guangzhou, China, during the Cultural Revolution to make a new life for himself in Hong Kong. Someone from the old days has returned to haunt him — exposing the terrible things he did to survive and flee one of the most violent periods of Chinese history, reinvent himself, and make the family fortune. Can Jill piece together the story of her family’s past without sacrificing her father's love and reputation?


CARVE THE HEART

by A.G. Pasquella | Published by Dundurn | Mystery

“Pasquella vividly captures the dog-eat-dog existence of the Toronto underworld.” —Publishers Weekly

Ex-con Jack Palace returns in a world of violence, heartbreak, and revenge.


Cassandra, the woman who broke Jack Palace’s heart, is suddenly back in his life. She owes $600,000 to a brutal gangster who has threatened her life, and she needs Jack’s help. Things start to get violent when Cassandra suddenly disappears … but not everyone believes she's in danger. Is Jack being set up?


Bikers, mobsters, and strippers collide as Jack storms the mean streets of Toronto searching for Cassandra. To find her, he must rip open old wounds and confront new enemies. But as loyalties falter and secrets are revealed, Jack begins to wonder who he can really trust. If he doesn’t figure it out fast, he — and everyone he cares about — could end up dead.


YA & Children’s


THE MAGPIE'S LIBRARY

by Kate Blair | Published by Dancing Cat Books | Middle Grade

“A rich emotional landscape is presented to show how grief and pain at times necessitate the need to explore other worlds. The novel reinforced the notion that stories can heal, but it also asks how far we can escape before we lose ourselves in the process? —Quill & Quire

Silva and her family visit her grandfather, only to find his health has taken a bad turn. As they struggle with this news, Silva seeks escape in books – at the local library.

But she gets more than she bargained for when a magpie guides her to a secret, magical room containing books that she can not only read, but that she can live. Silva finds herself in the worlds of the characters…who all turn out to be real people. People she knows.

There’s a catch, though: she soon discovers that the magpie has lured her to these books for selfish and dark reasons. Going back to the books could mean losing her soul…



BOIL LINE

By M.J. McIsaac | Published by Orca | Children’s

“An exciting page-turner...Readers will have success in completing the book, and it will satisfy their thirst for the thrill of adventure and achievement.” CM: Canadian Review of Materials

Camp Clearwater is home to best friends Nate, Owen and Mercy. They practically grew up on the Starling River. But the summer they turn sixteen an incident forces the camp to close its doors. Mike Elliot, the river guide who taught the teens everything they know, is lost to the rapids. A tragic accident, everyone agrees. Except for Nate. Mike was the best kayaker he’d ever met. The smartest. The safest. He respected and loved the river, and as far as Nate is concerned, the river loved Mike back. If his instructor was pulled under by the Starling, then Nate is sure foul play was involved. To find the truth, Nate must face his greatest fears as he retraces Mike’s final run through the Black Hole, the most treacherous waters on the Starling.


THE WORLD ON EITHER SIDE

By Diane Terrana | Published by Orca | Young Adult

"[An] ultimately hopeful tale of grief and redemption." -Kirkus Reviews

#1 Calgary Herald Bestseller


After the death of her boyfriend, sixteen-year old Valentine stops going to school, quits seeing her friends and, finally, won’t leave her bed. Desperate for her daughter to recover, Valentine’s mother takes her on a trek in Thailand.


In the mountains north of Chiang Mai, Valentine finds a world she didn’t know existed, where houses are on stilts and elephants still roam wild. She learns about the Burmese civil war and the relentless violence against the Karen and Rohingya peoples.


Then she meets Lin, a mysterious young elephant keeper tormented by his hidden past, and an orphaned elephant calf, pursued by violent poachers. Together, the three flee deep into the jungle, looking for refuge and redemption.


UNLEASHED

By Carolyn O'Doherty | Published by Boyds Mills Press | Young Adult Science Fiction

“A solid second novel that answers lingering questions while setting up intrigue for the next installment.” —Kirkus Reviews

Alex has the ability to freeze time and to rewind it. She and three other time spinners have successfully escaped the government facility that had imprisoned them. At last, they are free. Or are they?


How free can you be in a world that fears spinners—imprisoning them, medicating them, and killing them before they reach adulthood? How free can you be when you know that the twenty other spinners you grew up with are still trapped? How free can you be when the police officer you used to work for is determined to track you down?


In this second book in the riveting Rewind trilogy, Alex finds that the city outside the Center is more complicated and dangerous than she’d imagined—and that some of the dangers lie within herself.


THE GREY SISTERS

By Jo Treggiari | Published by Penguin Canada | Young Adult Thriller

“Treggiari. . . offers chills both subtle and shocking, and readers won't be able to turn the pages fast enough.” Kirkus Reviews

Shortlisted for the Governor General's Award


Two years after a deadly plane crash, best friends D and Spider head into the mountains to face their grief. A gripping psychological thriller for fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie.


D and Spider have always been close friends, and they are further united in their shared heartbreak: they both lost siblings in a horrific plane crash two years earlier. A chance sighting of a beloved cuddly toy in a photograph of the only survivor spurs D to finally seek closure. She and Spider and their friend, Min, set off on a road trip to the mountainside site of that terrible crash.


Ariel has lived on the mountain all her life. She and her extended family are looked down upon by neighboring townsfolk and she has learned to live by her wits, trusting few people outside of her isolated, survivalist community. A terrifying attack sends her down the mountain for help; on her way, she comes upon the three girls -- a chance encounter that will have far-reaching consequences for them all.


DEVONNA

By Audrey Francis-Plante | Published by Evernight Teen | Young Adult Paranormal

The 2017 Penguin Random House Canada Student Award for Fiction Runner-Up

Six years after the death of her cousin, Devonna Moreau still carries the numbing weight of guilt on her soul. People say it wasn’t her fault, but they don’t know she might’ve been able to save her were it not for her condition and biggest secret: she cannot physically feel anything. Not a breeze or a kiss or a punch.


Until one day her skin reacts to the touch of a reserved young man named Bram Hanaghan. Which would be great, if Bram was actually alive.


But he’s a ghost.


While Devonna wishes to use that mysterious link with the dead to find her cousin, other vengeful ghosts have plans of their own for the feelless girl.


Unthinkable plans that will forever change her life–and death.

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