Tag Archives: events

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)


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)


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)


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)


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)


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).


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.

giveaway1 giveaway2

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.


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!


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!

coblogger lizzach

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.


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!


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!)



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!


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


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!


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!


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.

Event Recap – Ontario Library Super Conference 2015

For those of you who aren’t familiar with me outside of the bloggosphere and game journalism scene, you may know I’m training to be a library technician. Well, at the end of January, there is a wonderful event for library professionals to attend — the OLA Super Conference. The event focuses on a variety of sessions geared towards the various types of libraries, there’s a huge expo floor to explore, and there is always something happening. It’s not as big as something like BEA, but there’s definitely more of personal interaction at OLA then I’ve seen at other events.

I started my day over at Penguin Random House where in I chatted with the wonderful, always an amazing conversationalist, Vikki VanSickle. She is always a delight to talk to, and I always feel inspired afterwards because she is so passionate. She’s someone who cares about Canadian Literature, Kit Lit and YA and she knows her bloggers insanely well. As always, seeing Vikki at an event reminds me that I’m doing a bit of good in the world, and people like her are always great spring boards for good conversation and ideas.

At 10 am, Rachel Hartman was signing Shadow Scale. Let’s just say that was a mini dream come true. Seriously, I lovelovelove Seraphina, and Shadow Scale is one of those books that fans have been waiting a long time for. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s next on my list because I NEED TO KNOW.


 Ahhhh Rachel Hartman is so nice.

After the signing I headed down for the only session I was scheduled for, and that was #WeNeedDiverseBooks. The session discussed the importance of inclusion and how we are library professionals and work towards building our collections to support diverse literatures. A lot of children and teens want to be represented in literature and they want to be able to see themselves in the books they are reading. I ended up feeling so inspired, and I came away with a ton of great ideas and new authors to check out. Also, there was a presentation on Canadian First Nations Literature and I really need to go and seek some of those books out. Great presentation and panel over all.

Then it was back up to the Expo floor, where working on my assignment happened, sort of food happened, and then it was offer to Raincoast Books to meet Courtney Summers!


Meeting Courtney was a big deal for me. We’ve talked for a long time on Twitter about video games, horror, and all kinds of crazy. The week leading up to OLA was a lot of silly tweets about who was sexier and OMGTHIS. She makes me laugh, and she writes some of the most amazing and thoughtful books out there, so of course I had to go and show my support and grab a copy of All the Rage (which I devoured might I add already). Next time you are in town Courtney, you are letting me take you out to lunch. 😛

After getting my hugs, video game talk, and fangirling, I rushed over to see another person who I’ve been having mad twitter conversations with: Sam Maggs!


I heart Sam Maggs, and she knows it. She helped participate in a feature I ran over at RPGamer for Valentine’s Day called Inquisition de Amore. The feature had a ton of authors and other journalists sharing a dating profile for their Inquisitor from Dragon Age: Inquisition. Sam was very enthusiastic about the project. I may have also sent a bucnh of my classmates her way because in all seriousness The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy really is such a fun read. Sam’s voice has such confidence and enthusiasm and she really makes you smile along the way. She’s a loveable soul and I’m happy we finally had a chance to meet.

After seeing Sam, there was more running around, more vendor flirting, and a ton of books being picked up. One of my professors even attempted to scope out my bag because she was impressed by the pile. Here’s the haul for your enjoyment!


Huge thank you to Penguin Canada, Random House of Canada, Raincoast Books, Scholastic Canada and Harper Collins Canada for all the wonderful new books for me to read and review. Also thank you to all of you for your kindness, your approachability and your enthusiasm. There’s nothing better that dealing with publishing folk and authors who love the same things you do and want to share it on a similar level. Seriously, you gotta admire that.

At the end of the day, my feet were killing me, I was popped and all I wanted to do was get some dinner and go read some of my new books. I did a few other things at the event, such as a resume workshop, talking to other professionals and playing around with new software, and it was a great experience overall. I will definitely be going to the OLA Super Conference again, hopefully not as a student, but as someone attached to a library. Here’s hoping, right?

The end of the day was spent at the Loose Moose. Let’s just say, All the Rage and I made good friends that day. My husband who came to meet up with me afterwards, well… he wasn’t too happy with the new pile of books, but at the same time, he’s loveable and listened to all my stories over beet and nachos. I cannot wait for next year’s conference!


Happy reading! 🙂

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!


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

An Evening with Laini Taylor (Author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)


Last Tuesday evening, my sister, K  (@ A Dangerous Kind of Ordinary) had the chance to go to the Laini Taylor signing at Chapters Queensway, all the way in Etobicoke. What a fantastic event! There were so many fans lined up to hear Laini be interviewed by a representitive of Indigo Teen Blog. Many of us were of course heartbroken and sadden by the end of The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (I myself, completely destroyed), so it was good to hear Taylor’s writing process, how she came up with these memorable characters, and how hard of a time she had letting go of this wonderful world she had crafted.


Laini Taylor also opened up about what had happened with the Dreamweaver series, and I admit that was an interesting story in terms of what happened to that poor series and how many publishing hands it went through (and let me tell you Silksinger is a pain to find, I have it but it took a lot of work on my part!). She also talked about her feelings on the upcoming movie based on Daughter of Smoke and Bone and she admitted that regardless of whether it’s a good movie or not, she’s thrilled with the idea that she is going to gain so many new potential readers. You could tell know enthusiastic the crowd was when it came time for Q&A, and I thanked her for the creation of Mik & Zuzana, my favourite characters from the series, and asked about the inspiration behind the enovella that features them, Seriously, they are the best and are so darn cute.

signedAnd then there was the signing. K surprised with me with a physical copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters (with the promise that I loan it to her once she gets through the first two books). As you know we are currently on a Book Buying Ban, but nothing in this ban stated that we couldn’t buy books for each other (perhaps we should change that for the next ban). So I got that and my copy of Days of Blood and Starlight signed, as well as a few little gifts for some friends of mine.

samlainiLaini is so pretty and nice and I look so silly here. Fangirl? Maybe.

krissylainiMeanwhile, K knows how to take a picture. See how cute they are?

Laini Taylor is one of my all time favourite authors, so I’m grateful that I got to meet her in person and ask questions. It was a successful event (and one that couldn’t have happened for me without the patience and awesomeness of K). If you haven’t read her books, PLEASE DO. You’ll be in for such a treat with fantastic characters and creepy, dreamingly dark worlds. Plus her prose is brilliant and one day I hope I can write as well as she does. I sincerely hope she comes back to Toronto again soon.

An Evening with Rainbow Rowell



On October 7th, 2014, I had the opportunity to attend an event at Indigo Yorkdale staring Rainbow Rowell, author of Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and her latest novel (one River and I both gave five stars to!) Fangirl. Rowell herself was quite the charmer, as she did a great job flirting with her audience. She also told stories of how growing up fanfic wasn’t as accessible as it is today, discussing how fanfic plays a role in personal life, personal canons, and how it can shape who we are as fans. She also confessed to having written what might be the only X-Men/Wham! crossover fic. If this fic existed on the interwebs somewhere, link me, because I’m dying to see how all of this would have worked in the grand scheme of things.

She also discussed what its like being someone who suffers from social anxiety despite being an author. She explained to crowd how difficult a lot of social situations are for her and how she’s constantly trying to improve who she is not only as a writer, but as a public speaker. Truthfully with the way she mingled with the crowd, you’d never guess that this is something she suffers with every day. She seemed amazed by all the Fangirl and Eleanor & Park fanart, fic, and just the crazy response readers have had to the novels since they both debuted. I found myself nodding along to a lot of daily struggles with anxiety as a suffer myself, but she even said that regardless of whether or not people like her work, she’s going to keep doing it because it will always touch someone in some significant way.

Rowell was genuine, and that is what I enjoyed about her. She took time for each person during the signing to get to know them, to understand why they loved her books and what connections they made to her characters. She seemed so happy to just converse with her fans about all their fandoms, their joys, and even their sorrows. Eleanor & Park has a special place in my heart because I had read it towards the end of my father’s life, and it was a book that deeply affected me during that time (as odd as it is to say). But I loved those characters, and Rowell makes them so easy to cheer for. You know things don’t end well for them, but it’s so easy to fall in love with them and hope for the best. Rowell prided herself in being  a bit of a dream crusher because she knew people were going to be somewhat disappointed in the results. Fangirl on the other hand, players with reader’s sense of self, as fandom is something we grow up with and shapes parts of who we are. It’s so easy to identify with Cath and her struggles, yet reader her fanfics, you could sense that Simon Snow was a part of who she is.



I enjoy Rowell’s works because they are personable, chock full of personality and spunk. She writers characters who feel real, so genuine, they are people you trust because you want to see how their lives unfold.  Rainbow’s humor is quirky, yet gentle, and you get a sense of that when you meet her in person. You come to understand a bit of how her characters are crafted and how they are able to live, learn, love and laugh. If you’ve never read one of Rainbow’s books, I urge you too. She’s one-of-a-kind, and she knows how to make readers feel and fall in love with her characters. ALL of her characters. While she personalized both my copies of Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, I know these are books I going to reread int he future, buy for friends, and essentially, do my best to let Rainbow Rowell’s books take over the world. Does she not have a cute face that screams world domination? I can totally see it.

Check out Rainbow’s books. You won’t regret it, and while your at it, follow her on twitter @rainbowrowell. She’s funny and adorable, and I wish more authors were like her! Also keep your eyes peeled for her upcoming release Landline which is scheduled to drop next year! If you ever get the chance to meet her in person, do it! You won’t regret all the fun you’ll have!