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Five Books I Am Jazzed About Thanks to #FrenzyPresents

Last Sunday I had the amazing opportunity to visit the Harper Collins Canada main office in Toronto. The Harper Collins Frenzy team focuses on YA fiction, especially promoting new and up-and-coming Canadian YA titles as well. This event that they hosted focused on Spring and Summer releases, and they have quite an exciting crop of titles coming out in 2017. I thought I’d share with you all the five I am most jazzed about.25752164

That Thing We Call a Heart
by Sheba Karim (Release Date: May 9th 2017)

When Suman, our MC for the afternoon began discussing That Thing We Called Heart, I was immediately intrigued. This book tells the story of Shabnam Qureshi, a young Pakistani-American who attends a private school in New Jersey. When her best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf, it begins to change their friendship forever. This a book about racism, race, cultural clash, family, and self-discovery. I have an ARC of this book and it is surprisingly small looking, but given all the things I’ve mentioned above, I’m excited to see the kind of punch it’s going to pack when I get the chance to read it.

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Fireworks
by Katie Cotugno (Release Date: April 18th 2017)

I loved Katie Cotugno’s debut How to Love, but I admit my indifference towards 99 Days. However, Fireworks has me reaaaaaally excited given it is written for the boy/girl band geek in all of us. I won’t lie: I am complete and utter trash for books about pop bands, as they were and have been a large guilty pleasure of mine for years. I still maintain that “Backstreet’s Back” has one of the best music videos of all time! (Seriously, come at me bro if you disagree). But seriously, this book sounds like it has Cotugno’s signature style, and I expect at least one moment of ugly crying out of me once I read it.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee (Release Date:  June 27th 2017)

So according to every person I know, I need to read this book. Apparently it is the most delightful romp ever, with absolutely delightful characters. Molly swears by this book (but that also might be because she and Mackenzi are friends), but I’ll be honest, this just sounds like a book I would adore. Apparently this book has gay romance, swashbuckling pirates, and streaking. What more do you want from a fun historical read? I definitely can’t wait to devour this one. It’s a chunky book, but I bet it reads fast!

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Ramona Blue
by Julie Murphy (Release Date: May 9th 2017)

So there’s a lot of positive and negative buzz surround Julie Murphy’s latest. Frankly, I am already in enough trouble given how much I loved Murphy’s debut, but somehow have not read the infamous Dumplin’ (a book that I was stoked for and it somehow slipped off my radar. I suck, you guys). I feel like Ramona Blue is going to have a lot of what I already love about Julie Murphy’s books: strong heroine, tough situations, and I think the way this book is premised is partially why it’s getting the negative reaction that it is. Truthfully, I love seeing bi-rep in books, and I’m curious to see how this story will unfold once I read it.

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The Upside of Unrequited
by Becky Albertalli (Release Date:  April 11th 2017)

Of course this book is on the list. I want it. Give it to me now. NOW. NOW. NOW. NOW. The wait is so hard for this one. I need more fun that is a Becky Albertalli book in my life RIGHT NOW.

And no, I’m not going to write something cohesive in regards to the book. I just want it. Or I can just reread Simon until it releases. Whichever.

And these are the five books I cannot wait to star reading or get my paws on. There was a lot of interesting titles being shown, but I really found myself gravitating towards the contemporary line up (are we surprised?). A huge thank you again to Harper Collins Canada for the invite, the wonderful company, and of course, the swag. I cannot wait to check all the above and below books out, though I swear I am going to need another book shelf with the way 2017 is looking for book releases.

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Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 Challenge – February Reads

With February having just recently ended, it’s time to check in on the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge. This month I only managed to complete two challenges, which isn’t as much as January, but I am still happy with the results all the same.

Let’s see what was read, shall we?


30102870History is All You left Me by Adam Silvera

Completes Challenge #15Read a YA or middle grade novel by an author who identifies as LGBTQ+.

Thoughts: I read History is All You Left Me in the course of a day. When I wasn’t reading it, I was constantly thinking about it. This is a beautifully written book about a boy who loses his first love at a young age and it alternates between present time and the past. Griffin and Theo’s friendship-turned-relationship is organic, it’s vibrant, and you see how they bring the best out of each other. Silvera has this knack for making you laugh on one page, and then gut punching you on the next. This is a great LGBT romance novel, and I highly recommend it.


17296690He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander

Completes Challenge #24Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.

Thoughts: Okay, so I am really heartbroken about this. I have been loving the hell out of Kwame Alexander’s books, but this one I am sad to say fell short for me. Which sucks because this is his first novel that I’ve read that isn’t in verse. The romance in this book was grating, corny, and I struggled so much with Omar’s character. On the opposite, I adored Claudia to pieces and I loved how important the cause in the story was to her. I think Alexander does a great job handling topics like abortion, teen pregnancy, but the characters and writing in this book fall short of what I feel he is better capable of. I found the side characters to be very flat (also I hated the way Fast Freddie was written). But yeah, there’s great ideas and the political side of this book is great. It’s just too bad it’s the smaller part of this novel.

Still love ya, Kwame Alexander. I still think you’re prose is beautiful.

Why You Should Read Company Town by Madeline Ashby (A Not Review!)

20447745I have been an avid follower of the CBC’s Canada Reads program for the last couple of years. For those who are unfamiliar, Canada Reads is a “Battle of the Books” in which Canadian celebrities, entrepreneurs and personalities champion a book that they feel all of Canada should read. This year’s event begins on March 27th with five contenders:

The Right to Be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis
Company Town by Madeline Ashby
The Break by Katherena Vermette
Nostalgia by M.G. Vassanji

Today, I want to focus a bit on why you should read Company Town by Madeline Ashby, and why it’s an important book to be included in this year’s Canada Reads.

  1. It’s SCIENCE FICTION! In the case of most literary awards that are out there, science fiction tends to often get snubbed because it’s not considered “literary.” What people forget is that science fiction has the power to provide “what ifs” that could become potential dangerous realities. Don’t believe me? Consider why George Orwell’s 1984 is selling so hotly right now.
  2. It focuses on the Maritime provinces, and even though the book is science fiction, the feeling of how the Maritime provinces are represented here feel very authentic. There is a feeling of isolation, hard work, loneliness, and discomfort that is common throughout the novel, and Ashby does an amazing job of evoking these emotions and having it play on the readers sense of both New Arcadia and the character of Hwa.
  3. It stars a bad-ass, non-augmented Korean woman named Hwa. She will kick your ass. No really. To be fair to Hwa’s character, she’s incredibly compelling as a heroine, and Ashby does an amazing job of making her feel so vibrant and alive in a world that feels so phony on the outside.
  4. It’s a page-turner. I literally blew through this book in a day because I found the writing style and the story so engaging. The themes are really easy to grasp, but Ashby does an amazing job of getting readers to question reality and the Lynch Family who basically have New Arcadia in the palm of their hands. There’s an amazing amount of back-and-forth and this is on top of a series of murders that Hwa somehow gets roped into investigating.
  5. There is wonderful social commentary about Canadian economics and politics, masquerading in this high octane story. Like I said, I found myself moving swiftly through this book and long after I was finished, I was still thinking about a lot of what happened in the story, and how it can potential relate to now.
  6. There is augmented people. Augmentation is fascinating.

There’s a my fangirlish ramblings on why you should check out Company Town. I hope to read and share some thoughts about some of the other Canada Reads nominees as I read them, but if they are anything like Company Town, they will be easy to recommend. I am definitely looking forward to checking out more of Madeline Ashby’s books, and if you love science fiction, this book really is worth checking out. It left an amazing impression on me!

2017 Reading Resolutions

While 2016 was a rough year for me on a whole, I cant say it was for my reading, as I completed 400 books. That is a lot and I have commuting and working in libraries to really thank for that. In 2017 my goal is less, as I am looking to only read 200 books. If I read more, great, if I don’t, that is okay too.

As a public library worker there’s a part of the job where one is expected to have a decent knowledge of literature, be it fiction or non-fiction. In library school we are often told to have a specialty in mind, but that we should always broaden the way in which we read, which is my larger goal in 2017. Here’s some of long-term reading goals for the year.

  1. Read more nonfiction. I read way more non-fiction in 2016 than I ever had in my lifetime and I want to keep this trend up. I am finally finding the kinds of non-fiction that interest me, more specifically about people, technology, weird industries, lifestyles. I find a lot of this stuff so fascinating, and if it’s women’s focused, the better. Reading more non-fiction has made me feel more well-rounded as a reader, and I am always looking for recommendations in this area as my expertise are still very limited.
  2. Work on completing/catching up on more series. I feel into a habit in 2016 where I mostly only read stand-alones or comics. While reading comic series fit this, I am looking more at the book series I’ve started over the years, the sequels I have sitting on my shelves and the fact that I still need to read them. I have Once Broken Faith by Seanan McGuire (An October Daye mystery), Crooked Kingdoms by Leigh Bardugo, so many books where I just need to sit down and play catch up. My goal is to try and catch up or complete on at least ten series.
  3. Read at east five 500+ page books. I am very guilty of this — big books intimidate me and 28114583often make me feel like they are making me backslide on my reading goal. However, there are so many interesting, big books I’ve avoided just because of the size and because LOL!reading goals. Quality versus quantity is going to be a big theme this year with me and I am going to knock some of these large books I’ve been curious about out this year.
  4. Read more diversely. I’ve always been a diverse reader and I’ve never really been one to shy away from that. This discussion, however, has become so much more important over the last few years and it’s something especially in libraries that we need to work more closely on given that our patrons come from a wide range of race, sexuality, religions, etc. We SHOULD be better at this, and there’s so many wonderful and promising reads that should be checked out more. Currently I am reading Midnight Without a Moon
    by Linda Williams Jackson and it is WONDERFUL.
  5. Don’t feel like you HAVE TO READ. I realize this is a weird one, but I confess: I am always reading. Sometimes when I don’t feel like it. I want to be okay with the fact that if I don’t feel like reading that it is okay. I have television shows, video games, friends,  an unhealthy obsession with Overwatch, that need some attention as well. Reading has always been my greatest comfort, but I am not going to beat myself up if I don’t read as much as I have in previous years.
  6. Give away more books. 2017 is going to be the year of purging for me. I am working towards purging every room in my house, and books are also going to be the same thing. I need to work on decluttering my spaces and focus on the reorganization process. Donating books or giving them to friends is always a plus in my books.
  7. Continue to buy less books. I have actually gotten better about this, although my shelf of shame would argue otherwise if it had a voice. I didn’t purchase a lot of books last year, but I did get a lot from trades, publishers and as gifts. It’s still a lot less than previous years, but yeaaaaaaah…. let’s work on this some more, shall we?
  8. Take out less books from work (aka the library). I work at a public library, do you know how hard this is for me? Do you know how hard it is to not take out the new and shiny books? Or deal with your co-workers giving you all the book recs and then you having a million holds? The pressure is real my friends. I need to work on taking less stuff out from the library because my shelf of shame is taking real issue with it. And honestly, it’s less stuff to lug to and from work, even if I love it so.
  9. Complete the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. The 2017 challenge has me crazy excited, yo. See the challenge here.

And that really is just the half of it. The larger focus this year is to work on cutting down the amount of books I have being okay with not keeping every book I own, and read for quality not quantity. I am going to try to stay on top of the review books because I want to get back into making sure this blog still has content. I am hoping to share more features, even if this is a primarily review-based blog. I am also hoping to have more reading adventures, since last year I didn’t have as many as I would have liked.

What are your goals for reading in 2017? Do you have anything you for sure want to accomplish? Let me know down below.

September Wrap Up and October Goals ~

I don’t feel like I read a lot of my own books in September. In fact, unless it was comics related, I only read books I got from my work instead. Here’s the small pile of books I managed to read from my own collection in the month of September.

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This seems like a sad amount given the Shelf of Shame still hasn’t shrunk enough in my eyes. One of the other issues I am facing is the amount of sequels that have sat unread on my shelf. This needs to change! I have a lot of fantasy sequels I’ve neglected over the month, so my goal is to try and read as many as I can. Here’s a few sequels I have outstanding that I could read:

  • Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin (Which doesn’t release until November)
  • Catalyst by Lydia Kang (which Molly got me forever ago and I still haven;t read. I SUCK MOLLY)
  • Invasion of the Freaks by Sean Williams (4th and final book to his Fixers series)
  • Chaos Choreography by Seanan McGuire (5th book in her InCryptid series)
  • Once Broken Faith (10th boon in her October Daye series)
  • Fiddlehead by Cherie Priest (6th book in the Clockwork Century series)
  • The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano (2nd book in the Pram series)
  • The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (6th book in the Mistborn series)
  • Staked by Kevin Herne (8th book in the Iron Druid series)

So these are a few books I am considering reading in October. Let’s try to play sequel catch up, shall we?

#Booktubeathon! TBR

I love #Booktubeathon even though I don’t booktube. I love being able to participate in the challenges and figure out what I want to read. Seriously, seven books in seven days? It’s insane, but totally do-able and I’ve been lucky that nearly every year I have done this, I have successfully completed the challenges. The event runs from July 18th to the 24th! Here’s what I will be reading and what challenges they will hit!

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1/ Read a book with yellow on the cover. — Gertie’s Leap to Greatness
by Kate Beasley 
2/ Read a book only after sunset.  — Castle of the Zombies (The Fixers #1)
by Sean Williams 

3/ Read a book you discovered through booktube. — The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
4/ Read a book by one of your favourite authors.  — Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
5/ Read a book that is older than you. — The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, 

6/ Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation. — The Green Mile by Stephen King 
7/ Read seven books. — Planet Of The Cyborgs (The Fixers #2) by Sean Williams 

We shall see how I do! If you are participating, let me know down in the comments!

Ten Comics & Graphic Novels You Should Check Out! May 2016 Edition

Despite all the sad that’s been in my life lately, graphic novels and comics have definitely been a thing I’ve been clinging towards. They are quick, easy reads that can be enjoyed in a lot of different forms. I haven’t done a recommendation post for comics and graphic novels in awhile, so here’s some new favourites and others I think are worth checking out.

Previous Posts:

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Goldie Vance #1
by Hope Larson, Brittany Williams, & Sarah Stern

My best friend tossed this little gem of a comic over to me recently and let me tell you: it’s spunky, cheeky, and a whole heck of a lot of fun. It feels like a fresher take on Scooby-Doo and stories that are inspired by that era. The characters, especially our heroine, Goldie, are just really cleverly written and delightfully charming. I’ve only read the first issue (of four) and considering where the plot line is going, i think it’s going to continue to win my heart over.

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The Pitiful Human-Lizard series
by Jason Loo

OH MY GOD THIS SERIES. It is perfect in so many ways, and if you are a Torontoian, there’s a lot more you can appreciate as a reader of this comic. Pitiful Human Lizard is a very weird hero, a loser who we can all root for. But he isn’t even the star in his own comics, because Mother Wonder is just… she’s the best. Oh, and Lizard’s mom. I love his tiger mom. There’s currently six issues out of this comic, and it’s definitely worth grabbing for those who love twists on the superhero formula along with great writing and artwork.

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Zatanna: The Mistress of Magic 
by Paul Dini, Stephane Roux, et al.

Zatanna is an amazing superheroine who really never gets her due. It’s a shame really, because she’s such a clever little minx, who offers readers tons of magic and fun. Plus this series is written by Paul Dini, the ultime Zatanna fanboy. But seriously, her solo run is easily one of the most fun I’ve had the pleasure of reading, and there’s a lot of creativity that is done with her character that other DC heroines just don’t get. There’s only two trades for this series, and both are worth checking out.

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Soppy: A Love Story
by Philippa Rice

Everyone should read Soppy, regardless of whether you’ve been in a relationship or not. It’s such a true to life series of comics that remind you what it’s like to be so in love with someone, that even the simplest things can bring you joy. I couldn’t help but yell at my husband about this book and some of the stuff that was happening in it and screaming “THIS IS US HONEY!!!” and him going “Okay, Sam. You’re nuts.” Then looking and agreeing. This book with make your heart flutter with fluffiness, and we all need some fluffiness every now and again.

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Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir
by Liz Prince

Tomboy by Liz Prince is a graphic memoir that really spoke to me. It is about Liz Prince’s experience growing up as a “tomboy” and how she dislikes gender stereotypes of what it means to be male or female. In a lot of ways she reminds us how cruel those stereotypes can be, and how people regardless of age she be able to promote themselves any way they want. There’s a lot of heart and soul in this memoir, and I loved my time with it. Definitely worth the read for those who want more meaningful exchanges in their graphic novels.

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Power Up 
by Kate Leth, Matt Cummings

I LOVE POWER UP! This is a comic that bends gender norms and stereotypes and it is HILARIOUS! Amazing characters, quirky adventures, beautiful artwork, this is one of those graphic novels for those who love crazy characters with hearts of gold. How can you not love an art student, a stay at home mom, an ageing athlete and a goldfish as a superhero team? Best superhero team ever! (Screw you, Justice League and Avengers!)

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Descender, Vol 1: Tin Stars (Descender #1)
by Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, & Steve Wands

Descender is a wonderful, mysterious series penned by Jeff Lemire. This means it’s an instant read for considering how much I adore his work. It also features Dustin Nguyen’s stunning artwork, which is AMAZING and wonderfully detailed. TIM-21 will steal your heart on his quest to survive in a world where bounty hunters wish to capture robots for… various gains. I really am excited to see where this series goes, and it’s one of those comics that makes you long for space adventures. Fantastic comic series for those who love space and robots… or both!

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Giant Days 
by John Allison, Whitney Cogar, Max Sarin & Lissa Treiman

GIANT DAAAAAAYS. It is a fantastic ongoing series about college adventures, personal relationships, and how to survive adulthood. This series is charming, funny, and it’s easy to love Esther, Susan and Daisy. Every time my best friend hands her her physical issues when she’s done with them, I immediately devour them because that is how much this series makes happy. This is definitely a good recommendation if you love series like Lumberjanes. READ THIS SERIES!

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Bitch Planet
by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, & Robert Wilson

Meet your new favourite feminist series starring ladies who can probably kick your ass. Kelly Sue DeConnick continues to impress me with her work, but Bitch Planet may be my favourite of hers. These are woman of various backgrounds, identities, social backgrounds and they refuse to give up who they are to an institution that wishes to change them. The stories in this series are rich, personal and thoughtful. This series kicks so much ass and you will love the ladies of Bitch Planet, I promise.

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Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride
by Lucy Knisley

You may have saw my recent review for this one, and I stand by my thoughts on it. Truthfully though, I’ll read graphic memoir that Lucy Knisley pens. Each of her graphic novels is very personal and full of a lot of inspiration. She just tells everything like it is and she eases the reader into so many situations that they can relate to. Something New is great for those who are married, but I’d even argue those who are single would find value in this as well. Any of her books are worth checking out, but this recent one is pretty spectacular.

What are some of your new favourite graphic novels? Let me know in the comments, and trust me, there will be more of these coming up, as I read more stuff worth recommending.