Tag Archives: author event

#FrenzyPresents Fall ’17 Event!

I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to Harper Collins Canada’s head offices for a preview of their Fall ’17 YA titles. I always love going to the #FrenzyPresents events simply because the HCC staff are so genuinely passionate about the titles they are sharing with the bloggers. Seriously, the staff are treasures.

Here are the top three titles I am super jazzed about that are releasing very soon!

Kat and Meg Conquer the World
by Anna Priemaza (Release Date: November 7th 2017 by HarperTeen)

I’ve had my eye on Kat and Meg Conquer the World for awhile. I absolutely love friendship stories and equally if they involve fandom. There’s definitely some tough issues that exist in this novel such as ADHD, anxiety, and dealing with the online game-verse. I really can’t wait to let you guys know my thoughts on this one though!

Here We Are Now
by Jasmine Warga (Release Date: November 7th 2017 by Balzer + Bray)
It should be no surprise that I am beyond excited for a new Jasmine Warga book. My Heart & Other Black Holes was a book that resonated with me on a personal level, and Jasmine Warga sports some absolutely gorgeous prose. This book focuses on a messy family situation, music and attempting to make up for lost time. Sounds right up my alley.
Before She Ignites (Fallen Isles Trilogy #1)
by Jodi Meadows (Release Date: September 12th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books)
POC princess, dragons, diplomacy? I am here for all those things. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a fantasy novel that has ticked my fancy and I’m desperately looking for a new fantasy series to rekindle my love of the genre. This book has the potential to be exactly that. Definitely going to try and get my claws on this one when it releases and see if Jodi Meadows’ magic can once again work on me.
I am also excited for They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera and Top Ten by Katie Cotugno, but you’ll see reviews for those soon enough.
After the bookish discussion of Fall ’17 titles, we were then introduced to Angie Thomas, Becky Albertalli and Julie Murphy, and oh my heart were they wonderful to meet in person. Becky told us the infamous “boner story” regarding one of her visits to the Simon vs. The Homo-sapiens Agenda set, while Angie and Julie discuss both the challenges and pleasures of seeing their works come to life. After our Q&A we had the chance to actually talk to the authors on a more one and one basis, and it was a dream come true!
Here’s some photos I took at the event. Excuse my awful selfie skillz. I need to work on those!
Angie Thomas, Author of The Hate U Give. (I look waaaaaay too happy)
Becky Albertalli, Author of Simon Vs. The Homo-sapiens Agenda & The Upside of Unrequited (who is totally as sweet as she looks)
Julie Murphy, Author of two of my favourite novels, Side Effects May Vary and Ramona Blue. She is amazing at selfies, by the way. ❤
These book cookies were the most delicious thing ever and I could have eaten all of them. Not going to lie.
My haul from the event. (There is a WONDER WOMAN SCENTED CANDLE OMG)
Once again, thank you to Harper Collins Canada for hosting such a wonderful, inclusive event. I had an amazing experience and I hope to enjoy all these upcoming reads. My TBR is crying, but I am SO EXCITED.
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INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair! – Saturday & Sunday!

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And now, part two of my INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair adventure. You’ll be getting both Saturday and Sunday in this post because I feel super chatty and don’t feel like doing another post afterwards. Anywho, Kiki and I got up stupid early and went back down to the convention for Day Two. When we arrived, we hung out a bit in the Penguin-Random House booth, wherein we (and by which I mean me) tackled Vikki VanSickle. Kiki went off to watch Debbie Macomber’s talk on the Main Stage and I… coloured colouring pages with Vikki. We coloured purple dinosaurs, pink dragons with spots, and we had an adorable eighteen month baby hang out with us. She kept hanging me markers. For some reason. She was SO CUTE!

After that, I ran over to the Main Stage and found Kiki. After Debbie Macomber’s talk, she went to get her books signed while I wandered about. I bought my husband the newest William Gibson book, which I will share a story for that later. We wanted around, found an amazing booth for a Caribbean book store called A Different Booklist. The ladies working in that booth were insanely passionate about the books they were selling, and I ended up buying The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson from them! Then Kiki went off to line up for Astronaut (or rather Awesomenaut) Chris Hadfield.

I ended finding Entangled Publishing, in my alone time, who were basically GIVING AWAY their books, and the lady running that booth was a complete doll. She gave me a pile of books! And then one of their authors was signing and she gave me a signed book (I ended up with two, one for Molly, which Brutus may have… ate the side of, I am sorry he autographed it). It was fun to just chat with them about romance novels, though I admit, it’s not a genre I generally enjoy. But, I decided I am totally going to give all the books I got a chance.

Then I was wandering around and I saw Dav Pilikey, author of the “Captain Underpants” books on the TD Kids Stage and let’s just say, he both a fabulous reader and public speaker. he drew artsy fartsy for all the kids in the crowd and tested their “Captain Underpants” knowledge, and man those kids were insanely smart. Also, I want his new book that’s coming out, “Dog Man” because it’s The Dark Knight Rises… only it stars a dog. Can we say win? I also met someone I went to high school with and we ended up hanging out quite a bit at the event, which was insanely nice, though I may had been a creeper about it at first (what can I say? I can be socially awkward).

And then it was time to meet William Gibson. The conversation I had with William Gibson was as follows (well the paraphrased version in which Sam comes across super duper awkwardly).

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I met William Gibson. He was lovely.

Me: HI! Nice to meet you! My name is Sam!

William Gibson: Hello, Sam.

Me: My husband and I love your books and we bonded over them, though truthfully, I think the only reason my husband married me is because I have a first edition of “Neuromancer.”

William Gibson: I’m pretty sure that makes you a keeper.

Me: *STUNNED FACE.* …thank you. GOOD TO MEET YOU!

William Gibson: *goes back to being awesome*

Me: *texts picture to husband* “William Gibson called me a keeper.”

Husband: *texts back* “Yes you are.”

Lets just say, it was a treasured encounter. Turns out, however, Kiki had a treasured encounter as well, because Chris Hadfield hugged her. Life was perfect in that moment. After that, we went to Harlequin to see Amanda Sun and she is still the cutest ever. I also ended up with a signed copy of “Rain” thanks to Kiki. Then we said goodbye to Amanda, and headed home due to being tired and pooped.

THEN SUNDAY HAPPENED. Kiki picked me up in the morning and her mom joined us! We ended up wandering the event and ended up back at Entangled and they gave us smutty books this time. We ended up with signed copies of “Into the Fire” by Amanda Usen and its sequel. Then we proceeded to take pictures of each other reading the darn thing. Holy steaminess, Batman. Let’s just say, I can’t decide if I will be reading it or not, but I may have giggled through the first few pages because Kiki dramatically read them. We also met Eric Kim, who is a fantastic author and artist and he signed copies of “The Complete Plays of William Shakespeare adapted by Eric Kim” which was HILARIOUS. My favourite in the book? His version of “Titus Andronicus” (which is my favourite Shakespeare play. Yes, I’m a horrible person.) If you can find the book and you love Shakespeare, READ IT.

Then lunch and more wandering around happened. Somehow I ended up losing Kiki and her mom and ended up at Erin Bow’s reading, and she was reading from “Sorrow’s Knot” and let’s just say I was tearing up because damn that book hurt. Here’s our review! I also ended up meeting her and she signed my copy of Sorrow’s Knot, though we admittedly talked about about how she makes people cry in her books (“Plain Kate,” anyone?). She apparently enjoys feeding on people’s tears, but she is an amazing lady and she HUGGED ME.

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Erin Bow: Amazing lady or crusher of souls? The answer: both!

And then finally it was time for Maggie Stiefvater. She was on the Main Stage and she is wonderfully crazy. She talked about the Gentleman’s Club convention that was happening next door, how The Raven Boys came to be, why she is a spooky person, and she even answered fans questions. I actually asked a question too, probably the most important question of them all.

Me: Hi Maggie! I have a question for you: why IS Gansey’s face so fancy?

Maggie: …. I was not prepared for that question. *turns to Chandra, the host* YOU DID NOT PREPARE ME FOR THESE QUESTIONS!

Maggie explained the tiny spoiler behind Gansey fancy face, but it made Kiki and I happy. We immediately texted Molly, and here was that conversation:

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Molly is favourite. Best co-blogger ever. Kiki also told her how we were “looking out for her best interests.” Needless to say, Kiki’s mom looked like she wanted to read Maggie’s books after that presentation. Then we went to the “official signing” which I got my copy of “Sinner” signed.

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Candid with Maggie! She asked if I liked to cry, but I’m pretty sure she feeds on tears.

After that, Kiki and I wandered over to Beguling to see if Ryan North was signing, which HE WAS. Years ago, at an Anime North long, long ago, he found out my name was Samantha and I was carrying a T-Rex toy. He asked me for my picture because T-Rex in Dinsoaur Comics has an imaginary girlfriend name “Samantha.” Well, I showed him the comic, told the story and let’s just say he reminded me that my name was STILL PRETTY, as according to T-Rex:

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STILL A PRETTY NAME!!!

And then I went over to Scholastic for the super awesome more personal Maggie Steifvater signing. I was able to get many Christmas gifts signed, discuss “The Raven Boys” with a lot more detail (she wanted to know who was the “Raven Boys” drug dealer and who was each of my friend’s fave Raven Boy) and she’s a lovely, lovey person. WE ALSO HUGGED! But I met the real Gansey Fancy Face in person. LOOK HOW CUTE WE ARE!

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The real Gansey Fancy Face. Huge love to Jessica for taking the picture.

And after that, the book fair was pretty much over. Will I go again next year? Absolutely. I really had a great time and it was just such a blast to meet a lot of the authors, make new friends and just be in a place that made me super happy the whole time. Seriously, I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. Plus, I got to meet so many of my favourite authors in one spot, and really? How cool is that. I’m sad the book fair is over, but I am looking so forward to see who is going to participate next year.

INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair! – Friday!

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The Toronto International Book Fair happened last weekend and I was fortunate enough to go for free thanks to Random House Canada and a giveaway they held on Twitter. I have to say, what a fun event it was! Not only was able to meet a ton of interesting authors, watch some fantastic panels and speakers, but I was surrounded by books, books, and more books. Books are a wonderfully intoxicating thing, ya know? Also huge thank you to Vikki VanSickle for allowing me to hug her every two seconds. She is the best!

On Friday, I bolted from my classes and made it out to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. When I got the event I wandered around and eventually I sat in on Eric Walters’ panel, “The Seven Sequels” which he hosted with Sigmund Brouwer, Norah McClintock, Shane Peacock, Richard Scrimger, and John Wilson. Let me tell you, this panel was absolutely brilliant. Not only did they talk about all fourteen novels in this series in less than a hour, but it was basically a whirlwind comedy act wherein they made fun of each other and their characters, but also discussed how one can weave such a large story together when the right people are involved. John Wilson is an adorable Scottish man who is at his most adorkable when he says the word “Scooter.” Eric Walters is a meanie (but I love his books and I think he is hilarious, so that is OKAY!).

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 Sigmund Brouwer, Norah McClintock, Shane Peacock, Richard Scrimger, Eric Walters and John Wilson

The second panel I attended was called “I Don’t Give a Damsel,” which starred Gayle Forman, E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Meg Wolitzer, and was hosted by Elaine Lui, also known as Gossip Laney from CTV’s “The Social.” (Who also made have upset the crowd when she spoiled parts of Gayle Forman’s upcoming novel, “I Was Here.” Oh the faces on the crowd!). These amazing ladies discussed what it’s like to write strong female characters, the difference between realistic vs. “likeable” characters, and the big bad F-word we all love, “Feminism.” I loved a lot of E. Lockhart’s responses to the questions, especially how feminism is an important word that we shouldn’t lose sight or hold of. It makes a lot of women who they are, and we need be able to embrace that word without fear. Needless to say, I found myself nodding a lot with the discussions that were had. Also Gayle Forman is an adorable spaz, who flails her arms and is just really, really cute. I also loved a lot of Meg Wolitzer’s insight and a lot of the research she brought into discussions, but she is an amazing woman to talk with (which I will get to in a sec).

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Elaine Lui, Meg Wolitzer, Gayle Forman,  Sarah Mlynowski and E. Lockhart.

So INSPIRE had a policy that I am not going to bring up, but needless to say, it upset and confounded a lot of the fans who went to the event. A lot of the authors felt very conflicted, so did a lot of the publicists and publishers, but let’s just say I did get into a bit of trouble that Gayle Forman got me out of. I had my copy of “Sisters in Sanity” with me, which if you don’t know, is an out-of-print novel, and it also happens to be my favourite of Gayle Forman’s books, mostly because I think it’s her most unique. When i got up to meet her, she smiled at me and said “You’re the girl with Sisters in Sanity.” I nodded, and pulled out the book, and told her this was the one I wanted to get signed, but I didn’t want to disrupt the policy that had been put into place. She then announced that she would sign it, and if others had books in their hands that weren’t bought at the event, she and the others would sign them too. She made me smile, and we talked for a few minutes about how “Sisters in Sanity” is such an unloved novel (or as she put it, the child no one loved and only sold 12 copies of). Needless to say, she HUGGED ME, and I was just beyond happy. SEE? SEE?!

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Gayle Forman loves Sisters in Sanity! AND SHE HUGGED ME.

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E. Lockhart also HUGGED ME! And asked if I had “contraband books.” She signed my copy of  The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and the book she co-wrote is Sarah, “How to Be Bad.” 

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I am sad this picture is blurry and I don’t know where I was looking, but Sarah Mlynowski is a cutie and I loved her.

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And finally, Meg Wolitzer! 

And now to share my Meg Wolitzer story: so when I was chatting with her, she asked me if I was a writer. I explained to her that while I’m not a fiction writer, I’ve been writing in the games industry for over five years as a reviewer, editorialist and features writer, and she smiled at me. She told me about how she’s learning to play games and how she fell in love with Gone Home! She wanted to pick my brain for more emotionally charging games, because apparently she is writing a novel that is using games in it. She also asked me about #GamersGate and she was just amazing to talk to. Very thoughtful, asked tons of questions, and I was more surprised she wanted to talk to me about this kind of stuff. We also discussed “Belzhar,” which I need to get off my butt and read.

Finally, after that, I met up with Kiki and we wanted some more around the show floor. We found out that Debbie MaComber (aka our moms favourite author) was signing over in the Penguin booth and can I just say she is the nicest, cutest lady EVER? Because she totally is.

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DEBBIE MACOMBER! She was so cute and was like “I need to try and look like my author photo but it isn’t working!”  It was also nice to be the same height as someone in a photo.

Then we realized Kate Beaton was signing! She put out these super duper cute tea towels (and we both got one). I ended up buying a copy of “Hark! A Vagrant!” which I didn’t own (but I have her other book), and this happened…

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Yes, Kate Beaton drew my dog, Brutus, in my book. It says “Brutus is a love champ.” I nearly died of laughter when I saw it. I adored it. Then we hugged and pictures happened! (But no, I will not show you guys our ugly face photo. NOT HAPPENING. DON’T ASK. Only Kiki has proof.)

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KATE BEATON!!! (ALL THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!)

After meeting Kate Beaton, Kiki and I decided we were super duper pooped from all the book fair fun and we went and grabbed Japanese food and headed back home. Home had Brutus snuggles, a mom sobbing about how the new Debbie book signed ON HER BIRTHDAY was the best thing ever, and then there was also lots of tea.

Hope you enjoyed my Friday recap. It was made of a lot of feelings, flails, and books. Check back for my Day 2 & 3 recap coming soon! (Or you know, tomorrow.)

An Evening With Lauren Oliver (Author of Rooms & the Delirium Trilogy)

talkingYesterday, I had the chance to meet Lauren Oliver, who famous for her YA novels Panic, the Delirium Trilogy, Before I Fall, but did you all know she put an adult novel recently? Well, interestingly, Lauren had an amazing talk with the fans about the labels of publishing and how bogus they somewhat are.

Lauren stated that many authors don’t just outright say “this is an adult novel or this is a teen novel.” Sometimes the idea of audience is there, but the reality is that until you have a finished product, you don’t really know who the book might actual be for! And this is ultimately how Rooms came into existence. It was interesting to listen to Lauren Oliver discuss her writing practices, but more importantly how ideas can be salvaged and transformed, even if you may not entirely know where the story is taking you. It’s about feeling your way around the voices and seeing what kind of a story they are leading you towards, and it’s interesting how true that sounds for most.signing

She also read from Rooms and she’s a fantastic reader. One aspect I loved about Lauren reading the novel is that she had a distinct way in which the characters would sound, and it made me all the more eager to start reading the book (which happened, it became the new bus book because I finished Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings). I loved learning about the process in which Rooms took its form, and just from the sixty pages I’ve read, I can see how challenging of book this must have been to write given the setting, characters, circumstances, and the constriction of the house itself within the story. It’s very much alive and a character within the story. Every room in the house has its own distinct personality and traits, and it’s something I appreciate as someone who loves descriptive writing. Mind you, Lauren Oliver should write an eight hundred page book describing trees and I would probably read it.

samlaurenLauren Oliver is also a lovely and vibrant person to chat with. She was discussing all her own going projects and she was very personable with her fans. I told her about how Liesl & Po has destroyed me (the inscription in that book is much more personal) and how I felt so connected to those characters and that world. Since Kiki was with me, we also discussed what it means to be a book pusher. BOOK PUSHER!

Honestly, Lauren Oliver was such a fun author to meet and I know if she ever ends up visiting Toronto again, I will totally be there with bells on (Okay, not literally unless someone holds me to it). Seriously though, if she’s in your neck of the woods and you love her work, she is an awesome speaker worth seeing!

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omg she signed mah book. (Not pictured: Liesl & Po because that is back on the favourites shelf)