Tag Archives: events

Five Must-Have Books from #TeensReadFeed

Raincoast invited me and a bunch of other bloggers to an event in Toronto to showcase their upcoming line-up of titles for Winter/Spring 2017. The list of titles that they narrowed it to was completely insane, and if I am being frank, I need to say how impressed I was given the plethora of titles releasing in Winter alone. However, what I love about the #TeensReadFeed events is that they are a chance to talk to other bloggers and publishing staff to learn what folks think are going to be the it titles. It also helps that the event is run by some of the best and most delightful people in the publishing business.

There was also a special guest via Google Hangout for the Toronto Crowd, which was Mary E. Pearson! I am a shame to admit I have only read one book by her. After her discussion about writing and the writing process, I am super excited to check out some of her other books and perhaps continue the Remanent Chronicles. Those lucky ducks in B.C had her in person! SO COOL!

It was hard for me to narrow down the five titles from the event that I believe will be must haves for me personally, but I am going to give this a try. Let’s be honest, I kinda wanted to read all the darn books on the list.

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Caraval by Stephanie Barber (Release Date: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books)

Oh all the books showcased at the event, this was the one everyone repeatedly stated they wanted to read. I was lucky enough to trade for a copy of it at the event, so I am pretty darn excited to read this one (and keep finding myself tempted to pick it up and fly through it). I am a large sucker for “circus”-style books, or books where it is about performances or games, and this book seems like it’s just a little bit of everything, pixie-dust and more. I’ve heard the writing is beautiful, and that apparently it is a favourite in the Raincoast offices at the moment. Colour me super excited to get to this one. ūüôā

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Under Rose-Tainted Skies
by Louise Gornall (January 3rd 2017 by Clarion Books)

Those who have been around the blog long enough know I am a lover and advocate of tough!teen literature, and I love books that focus on much more difficult subject matters. This book is about mental illness, and even more specifically about a girl with agoraphobia and OCD. The author is a mental health advocate, and I am a sucker for books like this which discuss illnesses that I am less familiar with. Sometimes their are topics you just want to have more perspectives on, and I admit that agoraphobia is not a topic I have read a lot about. I am excited to see how Norah’s journey will unfold when the book releases!

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Get it Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough (April 4th 2017 by Chronicle Books)

I have been wanting to read this novel since it released in Australia, and I never bothered to import it (or ask my favourite Aussie about it). I looooooove contemporary fiction sent in Australia, and there’s something about their YA authors that gets authentic teen voices just right. Not only is this an LGBT+ novel, but it looks like the story is going to have a lot of heart, humour and personal calamity. My kind of book!

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The Pants Project by Cat Clarke (March 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire)

Hot on the heels of Alex Gino’s George (a book I adored in 2015) comes The Pants Project by Cat Clarke, a book about a transgendered middle grader who is forced to be someone else because of a school dress code. I always love stories where boundaries must be addressed and broken and I think this book has such the potential to be the kind of story that can punch you in the gut and potentially provide all the feels. I am definitely looking forward to this one!

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The Stone Heart (Nameless City #2) by Faith Erin Hicks (April 4th 2017 by First Second)

And this wouldn’t be a Sam blog post if it didn’t include a graphic novel. I finished The Nameless City back in 2014, and I was clamoring for this sequel the moment I finished it. This book has been a very hard wait for me, even after talking with Faith Erin Hicks back at TCAF 2016 and some of the elements of the story that she said would ramp up in this installment. April is going to be a hard wait for me, but I loved the first book so much that I think I can stick it out (maybe, no, no probably not). I ended up recommending this book for the public library I work at and it has been a hit with a lot of the readers who have been checking it out. If you haven’t read the first book, get on that STAT!


It was so hard to narrow down five picks, but these are the five I am super jazzed about. If I am being honest, almost all of them sound like wonderful reads and I am sure I will likely get to most of them throughout the year.

Huge thank you again to Raincoast for the invite, the food, the swag and the hospitality. I love going to these events and seeing what kind of new gems are going to be releasing. I hope all of these books rock my blogger socks off when they release!

#ARC August Wrap Up!

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#ARCAugust is hosted by the amazing Octavia & Shelly @ Read. Sleep. Repeat! Thank you again ladies for running an awesome event!

Let’s see the results!

  • The Dog Who Dared to Dream by¬†Hwang Sun-mi (September 6)
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (October 4)
  • The Infinity Year of Avalon James¬†by Dana Middleton (October 11)
  • Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin (September 6)
  • Girls Like Me by¬†Lola St.Vil (October 4)
  • When the Moon Was Ours by¬†Anna-Marie McLemore (October 4)
  • Speed of Life by J.M Kelly (October 11)
  • Labyrinth Lost¬†by Zoraida C√≥rdova (September 6)
  • Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (September 20)
  • The Inquisitor‚Äôs Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
    by Adam Gidwitz (September 27)
  • Blood For Blood¬†by Ryan Graudin (November 1)
  • Afterward by Jennifer Mathiu (September 20)
  • Write This Down by Claudia Mills (September 27, ebook)
  • The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (September 20)
  • Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands (September 6)

Total Read:12/16

Well, my last week of #ARCAugust was a bit of a bust as I only finished Girls Like Me. I am super proud of myself for the number of books I managed to complete during the event, as well as the number of reviews I managed to write as well. I always find #ARCAugust to be a super motivating and positive event to participate in and it was no different this year. I only hope everyone else had a crazy awesome #ARCAugust and managed to get through a chunk of their ARC backlog. I still don’t feel like I made enough of a dent, but you know what? Can’t be hard on myself considering I see my results as quite the accomplishment.

Here’s hoping I have as much success in September!

#ARCAugust Week One Wrap Up!

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I love #ARCAugust.¬†#ARCAugust is hosted by the amazing¬†Octavia & Shelly @ Read. Sleep. Repeat¬†and I swear they don’t know how much I love this little event that they run. I mentioned in a previous post that my TBR pile for this event was a tad over-ambitious, but honestly, after this first week I have made some awesome progress.

  • The Dog Who Dared to Dream by¬†Hwang Sun-mi (September 6)
  • This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills (October 4)
  • The Infinity Year of Avalon James¬†by Dana Middleton (October 11)
  • Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin (September 6)
  • Girls Like Me by¬†Lola St.Vil (October 4)
  • When the Moon Was Ours by¬†Anna-Marie McLemore (October 4)
  • Speed of Life by J.M Kelly (October 11)
  • Labyrinth Lost¬†by Zoraida C√≥rdova (September 6)
  • Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel (September 20)
  • The Inquisitor‚Äôs Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
    by Adam Gidwitz (September 27)
  • Blood For Blood¬†by Ryan Graudin (November 1)
  • Afterward by Jennifer Mathiu (September 20)
  • Write This Down by Claudia Mills (September 27, ebook)
  • The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (September 20)
  • Mark of the Plague by Kevin Sands (September 6)

Total Read: 4/16

Favourite Read This Week: Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu. This book, just, ugh, feelings.

You’ll notice two more items were added to this list. That is because @SimonTeenCA sent me a few September ARCs, and now I definitely need to make sure they get reviewed. Here’s a pick fo what they sent me!

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I am hoping to have as productive #ARCAugust, and we’ll see how I roll next week. Right now I am in the middle of¬†Labyrinth Lost¬†by Zoraida C√≥rdova, which I am enjoying very much. It’s definitely got a very different paranormal vibe to it which is keeping me hooked. As for the books I’ve recently finished, expect to see reviews of them on the blog very soon!

If you are particpating in #ARCAugust, how did your first week go? I’d love to know in the comments!

#TBRTakedown 4.0 TBR Post

Hey guys! I thought I’d share that I am participating in #TBRTakedown, which runs from June 20th to the 26th. This event is hosted by the amazing Shannon @ LeaningLights. Here’s her video to announce the event if you want to know more of what it is about!

I have been doing this event since Shannon started it, and it’s a favourite readathon of mine because I love the challenges and I find I accomplish so much in terms of reading when I do it. Here’s my TBR along with what books fit what challenges:

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1. TBR over a year [longest] – The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
2. Sequel – Thanatos by Karen Dales (Book Three of the Chosen Chronicles)
3. First book in a series – This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
4. Out of comfort zone [whatever that means for you] –¬†Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty (Non-Fiction)
5. Most Recent Book Haul – How It Ends by Catherine Lo

Considering this is my week where I work seven days in a row, I think I can read all five of these books without too much of a problem. This comes with the joy of commuting between work places. At the end of the month you’ll find out whether or not I was successful, but pray for me that I will be because June has been a very trying month of being an adult and reading (and gaming, and writing, all my favourite things) have fallen a bit to the wayside.

Are you participating? Share your TBR with me, as I’d love to see what you’re reading for the event.

Five Books I Am Hyped For After #TeensReadFeed

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to an event hosted by Raincoast Canada. For those of you who don’t know, Raincoast is the distributor for publishers such as Macmillan, Sourcebooks, and many others. At this event, we were introduced to over twenty titles for the upcoming Winter and Spring season. Let me tell you — there’s some great looking stuff coming. I thought it would be fun to share the top five books from the event I am most excited for.

#1: Gena/Finn by Kat Helgeson & Hannah Moskowitz (Release Date: February 23rd 2016 by Chronicle Books)

Sooooo… my most anticipated book from the event doesn’t actually have a cover yet. However, that is OK! Want to know why this my most anticipated read? Because it focuses on friendship, fandoms, fanficition and it’s going to be written in a multimedia format. I love stories about friendship, and I equally love how fandoms how the power to bring people together. Needless to say, this was the book I came out of the event wanting the most!

#2: The Art of Being Normal
by Lisa Williamson (Release Date: May 31st 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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I’m always looking for new and interesting LGBTQIA reads, and this one sounds like something I’d completely adore. It focuses on a young boy who wants to be a girl, and the unlikely friendship it sparks when he is saved from the school bully. This book looks like it will tackle a lot of different issues, and a message of what it means to be true to yourself. Looks wonderful and heartfelt, and I cannot wait!

#3: How It Ends
by Catherine Lo  (Release Date: June 7th 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

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Another book that just sounds sad and mysterious. Written by a Canadian author, this book looks like it will focus on secrets, friendship, how secrets can affect a friendship in ways that might tear it apart. Really excited to see how this book is going to go down, because itis vague premise really has me intrigued.

#4: Riders (Riders #1)
by Veronica Rossi (Release Date: February 16th 2016 by Tor Teen)

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It is so great to see a new Veronica Rossi YA novel. I was a slow convert to her¬†Under the Never Sky series. It was one of those situations where the first book didn’t impress me and then all of a sudden I chose to kept going and it turned out to be a much more rewarding series than I initially gave it credit for. This book is about the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, and that alone makes me want it. UNDEAD PONIES.

#5: These Vicious Masks
by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas (Release Date:  February 9th 2016 by Swoon Reads)

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Jane Austen meets X-Men? Yes, you heard me, that alone piqued my interest during yesterday’s discussion. Not only did it confuse the heck out of me, but the book sounds utterly ridiculous and charming. Due to those two factors, I feel like my expectations might be way too high on this one, BUT JANE AUSTEN MEETS X-MEN YOU GUYS. ALL THE HYPE!

And then here’s what I got in my swag bag! (Minus the Kate Beaton book, I admit, I bought that)

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

In Real Life by Jessica Love

Honestly, I didn’t know much about either, and ended up trading with some other bloggers at the event for these. Excited to see if I’ll like either of them (both look like something I’d enjoy).

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Everyone who attended! (Photo curtsey of Vanessa Di Gregorio from Raincoast Books & ampersand inc)

Once again I want to thank to Raincoast Canada for allowing me the opportunity to see all their new upcoming titles. I want to thank all the bloggers I met for great conversation, and also Melissa Pellegrin for being a standup hostess for the events in both TO and Vancouver. I seriously cannot wait for all these upcoming titles, because even though I only focused on five, there’s a ton worth checking out.

 

Sam’s July Book Haul

Another month, another pile of books. I really tried to control my buying, and in the end I only bought four books! Everything else was either sent by friends, publishers, or through a book swap. Let’s see what I got.

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I won two giveaways back in June, and the books arrived this month. I got¬†Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness by Jennifer Tseng through a Goodreads giveaway hosted by Peguin Canada. The second came from¬†Olivia @ The Candid Cover, and I won her June Giveaway Hop, so I was allowed to pick a June release. I ended up picking¬†The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes¬†which I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about. After Jennifer Mathiu’s¬†Devoted, I’m up for another book that may be similar.

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I ended up purchasing two books this month from Indigo. I flew through¬†Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews and I’m so happy I finally read it. I hope to see the film to compare differences and similarities. Hopefully I see it before it’s completely out of theatres. I also got the final book of the¬†Paper Gods trilogy,¬†Storm by Amanda Sun. I need to know how my new favourite anime-esque novel is going to end!

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On July 11th I had the chance to attend the Toronto Book Swap @ The Central. Let’s just say, it was chaos! Lots of people trading books, sharing their love of literature. It was a good event minus some unfriendly folks who attended. In the end I gave five books to the swap and took three, which were:¬†North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley, Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg, and From the Notebook of Melenin Sun by¬†Jacqueline¬†Woodson. I also grabbed¬†The Color of Heaven by Kim Dong Hwa, which I finally found, meaning I can complete this series. I am beyond excited!

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Then more book swapping happened as my co-blogger, River, and friends Liz and Zach also sent me books!

From River:

  • The Night We Said Yes by¬†Lauren Gibaldi
  • Prep School Confidental by Kara Taylor
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda¬†Salisbury
  • A Curious Tale of In-Between by Lauren DeStenfano (!!!!!)

From Liz @ Consumed by Books

  • The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
  • The Queen of Kentucky¬†by Alecia Whitaker

From Zach:

  • Machine of Death by Ryan North et al.

THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU GUYS! I cannot wait to read these!

simonteenThen Simon Teen Canada sent me this beauty, Stand-off by Andrew Smith. Which, omg I am excited for considering we just read Winger for our Summer Contemporary Fling event we just finished hosting! And uh, if you haven’t read Winger, GO DO IT NOW. NOW NOW NOW.

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And then there’s Inspector Pancakes Helps the President of France. This is a… super inappropriate at times picture book that I Kickstarted and this was one of my backer rewards. It’s really funny, kind of disturbing, and some dark humour. It’s definitely not for kids, but look at how misleading it is! Inspector Pancakes, I still love you!

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While I ended up already reading and owning a copy of this month’s July Uppercase Box, I decided I am still keeping up with the service. I LOVED Finding Audrey, so I am happy that I can give this extra copy to someone else who I think will love it too (and before anyone asks, it’s already gone and spoken for! Sorry!). But I love the amount of thought that goes into subscription boxes (and I never seem to have luck with OwlCrate, one day!). I loved the socks, which I can totally wear to my library job, I loved the book marks (they feature Paper Towns Quotes) and the little coffee sleeve was a great touch. Looking forward to what they come up with for August (MY BIRTHDAY MONTH!)

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And finally Harper Collins Canada were super lovely enough to send me advance copies of What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler  and A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis. Both of them sound absolutely fantastic and equally horrifying. Except reviews for both of them on the blog soon.

And that was everything I got in my mail box for the month of July. Did you get any awesome reads in the mail? Have you read any of these beauties above? If so, let me know, I’d be curious about your thoughts.

Toronto Comics Art Festival 2015, Festival of Trees, and #SusanSusin Events!

crowd1I’ve had an insanely busy and bookish May so far. Last weekend I had the chance to attend the Toronto Comics Art Festival (aka TCAF), and it was my first time going to the event. For those who are not familiar, TCAF is a celebration of comics, art, and culture, and it takes place at the Toronto Reference Library. I went with my partner-in-crime, Kiki, and we went around exploring some of the major events that were occurring this year. One amazing event that was happening was the comics versus games panels, and in honour of this, there was a pop-up arcade on the second floor of Toronto Reference. Kiki and I ended up playing a game called Moon Hunters (I wrote an impression for RPGamer.com) and I really cannot wait for its release in 2016. It’s a lot of fun.

And comics! So many different kins of comics, local artists, folks from all over the world, coming and enjoying the event. I had the chance to meet a ton of talented artists, while also seeing friends who were participating as well. Here’s some folks I met!

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Raina Telgemeier, author of Smile, Sisters, and Drama!

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Noelle Stevenson, co-author of the Lumberjanes and author of Nimona! She’s SO CUTE AND NICE!

chipAnd Chip Zdarsky, who is a terrible, hilarious flirt, and artist of Sex Criminals. He will write pornographic things in your book!

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And finally, the book haul (the part we all know everyone cares about the most!)

Overall, I had an amazing time at my first TCAF. Everyone, authors, comic fans, alike are just so friendly and they want to fanboy/girl their favourite artists and comics. It’s easy to get swept away in the positivity that surrounds the festival, and it’s impressive the kinds of guests that it attracts. If you live in the city, or love graphic novels and comics, you owe yourself the opportunity to come and visit Toronto while TCAF is on.


CE5M3ZXUMAIvFT0The second event I attended this month was the Ontario Library Association’s Festival of Trees. For those unfamiliar, it’s their Rock Concert of Reading, wherein they allow school children and teens to vote on their favourite Canadian novels over last year.¬†Program Info Here!

A former classmate and I decided that since we both want to specialize in children and young adult fiction that we would go and investigate the Festival of Trees. The event featured authors such as Eric Walters, Vikki VanSickle, Heather Smith, Eve Silver, Kenneth Oppel and many more. Let’s just say, the authors were such amazing sports, signing autographs, performing workshops, and of course there were the awards themselves. Every author had long lines with students piled up waiting to meet and chat with them. I admit, I waited in line for Eve Silver and Vikki VanSickle, though they are my friends and I’m a huge supporter of both their works.¬†CE5M5jLUMAALrzd

The winners ended up being…. (and I’ll just focus on Fiction in this case)

Blue Spurce (Picture Books!) – Maureen Fergus & Mike Lowery’s “The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten”

Red Maple (Non-Fiction!) –¬†The Last Train: A Holocaust ¬†Story by Rona Arato

Red Maple (Fiction!) – Eric Walter’s “The Rule of Three” (which I reviewed¬†here)

White Pine (YA!) – Eve Silver’s “Rush” (who I interviewed back in 2013 @ RPGamer)

All in all, The Festival of Trees was such a rewarding and unique experience. Honestly, seeing students get so jazzed about reading, voting and having a voice in literacy is so empowering for authors, publishers, library professionals and the students themselves. Events like this remind us that Canada has some amazing talent and that it needs to be more valued and recognized. Though with the 10,000 attendees, I feel like that statement is all the more successful. It’s clear that reading and writing are not dying arts, and to those who say that, I counter with: “So, did you check out the Festival of Trees. It’s the good kind of chaos.”


susansusinFinally, the last event I was able to attended occurred right after the Festival of Trees. I was given a personal invite to visit the Random House Canada office to meet Susan Juby, author of “The Truth Commission” and Susin Nielson, author of “We Are All Made of Molecules” (review). The event allowed local bloggers and bookstore employees the opportunity to have wine and snacks before Susan and Susin headed off for the Brampton leg of their #SusanSusin tour.

It was such a wonderful and casual event. Both authors mingled and chatted with everyone, and they were just so funny and down to earth. I was very nervous because I know how awkward I can be at times, but they both so kind. (I am sorry my flash blinded you, Susin!). It made me appreciate how open authors can be with fans and bloggers, and it’s totally appreciated. I know now though that I need to check more of Susan (Alice, I Think!) and Susin’s books (Seriously, Word Nerd, I need it).

susinIt’s Susin Nielson!

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And Susan Juby!

Huge thank you again to Random House Canada for the invite, I had an AWESOME time! And seriously, check out both their recent novels. I loved “We Are All Made of Molecules” and I started “The Truth Commission” on my train ride home last night — SO FUNNY and quirky! If you want to read some hilarious and truthful novels, look no further than both these releases.