Tag Archives: top five

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.


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


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!


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!


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!


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!


Five Middle Grade Novels You Should Read This Summer

I realize we are already halfway through the summer, and my goodness does time fly! During the summer there are two genres that I really gravitate towards: contemporary and middle grade. While I do think middle grade is always best enjoyed all year round, I find I read a lot of it during the summer. There’s something about falling into a story where there’s an adventure, there’s still a sense of innocence, and I feel like that is just something I can always connect with.

Today, I thought I’d share with you all five middle grade novels I think would be great to check out this summer.


The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall

I am convienced that this is THE summer middle grade series to read. Every adventure that Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty have are always such a delight, and Birdsall does an amazing job of evoking a level fo genuiness with this series. While I haven’t read Penderwicks in the Spring yet, I can definitely attest to what an easy, breezy, enjoyable read this series is. Seriously, Batty alone will make you smile, I promise.


Tru & Nelle by G. Neri

This is a novel that looks at the historical relationship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee. Majority fo this novel takes place during a hot summer in Alabama, and it depicts a beautiful friendship, while also tackling issues of segregation. There’s a lot of heart and soul in this story that just made me smile. It’s the perfect middle grade to bust out the iced tea and sit outside and devour.


The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

This book and its sequel The Boy Who Knew Everything are amazing books that I will never ever shut up about. These are fast-paced fantasy novels that star children with extraordinary abilities. This series is incredibely clever, very imaginative, and it offers a lot of fun and exitment while also exploring issues of difference and identity in a wonderful way. READ THESE BOOKS, YO.


The Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon

Part novel, part comic, Hamster Princess is simply amazeballs. Hilarious, quicky, this series will make you laugh so hard that you cry. Harriet is a delight and she knows she needs know prince charming to be a kick butt rogue princess. With two books so far in the series, there’s just way too much fun to be had with this series, and these make for great, quick summer reads!


The Hook’s Revenge series
by Heidi Schulz

PIRATES! Pirates are totally summery, right? Get ready for some crazy adventures on the high seas with  Jocelyn, daughter of the infamous Captain James Hook. This book is about becoming the kind of person you want to be, fighting to be recognized, and knowing that you can really achieve anything you set your mind to, Great humour, awesome messages, and just plain fun. Now I just need to remember to read book two!

And those are my five picks for some great summer middle grade books. I am always looking for great middle grade recommendations, so if you have any, please consider sharing with me! ūüôā

Five Books I Want to Read Over the Summer

Summer is officially upon us. At work I am currently on tap to help out with our library’s Summer Reading Club, which is quite the big job. Why, you ask? Because we are teaching children about the importance of reading and writing all summer long! Furthermore we are getting the kids to track a lot of what they read. But that’s another story.

I LOVE summertime. I especially love reading out on my back porch with a beer in one hand and a book in the other. Here are five books I REALLY want to read this summer, and a little bit about why I want to get to them. If you’ve read them, let me know what you thought of the choices in the comments!


Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts & Revenge #1)
by Katie Finn

I have had this book on my shelf since the year I got married and it’s one of those books that looks like a perfect summer read. I’ve heard this series is cheeky, a bit ridiculous, and a lot of fun. Plus if I enjoy it, I know there are two more books in this series. I love Morgan Matson, so I am interested to see how her Kate Finn persona plays out.


by Kody Keplinger

During the summer, I always have a huge craving for contemporary, be it adult or YA. I have loved every Kody Keplinger book I have read (and I am mad I have books by her I haven’t read yet either). Molly was lucky enough to score me an ARC of this book because she knew how much I loved Kody Kelinger’s other books and I love the sound of the premise for this one as the focus on friendship seems to be a larger theme. A+ in my books!


Blood of Tyrants (Temeraire #8)
by Naomi Novik

I adore the Temeraire series and this is the book I have left off at. I have it, but for whatever reason, I haven’t actually read it yet. The last book also recently released so I feel like I need to just binge read the two of them because who the heck doesn’t love smart-ass talking dragons? Plus, I want a big chunky fantasy read and I feel like coming back to this series might be exactly what I may be craving.


Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin

Middle grade is another thing I love to devour during the summer. The reads are often lighter and light-hearted. This book looks adorable and I feel like it’s the kind of book I would be able to breeze through during an afternoon. Plus, artwork by Ben Hatke! How can I go wrong?


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)
by Becky Chambers

I’ve been wanting to read a lot of science fiction again lately, more specifically, books that focus on space and space travel. I kept hearing crazy good buzz about this book and Rachel Bach’s Paradox series. This book apparently is one of those reads that sucks you in and then you are demanding more by the end of it. Sounds like my kind of book!

What are some of the books you want to get to this summer? I realise I picked five, but let’s face it, there’s always more!

Five Books From the #TeensReadFeed Fall Preview That I Need

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend Raincoast’s Fall Book Preview. This event was to highlight upcoming titles releasing in the fall, and what was shown was quite a range of works, from new mystery and thriller titles, to epic sounding middle grade novels. There were two events, one in Vancouver and the other in Toronto. The Toronto people were able to interact with the Vancouver people via Google Hangouts.


Once we were ushered in, there were many treats to be obtained, homemade lemonade (so delicious) and other snacks. We were also given a grab bag with posters, bookmarks, and a few ARCs that were being highlighted in the event. Here’s my pile, and let me say, I am excited to read all three of these!


There was also a special guest, Eileen Cook, who wrote With Malice. During that section of the event readers were able to ask Eileen questions about her writing process, the novel, and some of her recent favourite reads. I really enjoyed listening to her discuss the writing process and where the inspiration came for With Malice. She was also just delightfully candid and entertaining as well. If you want to check out With Malice, it releases on June 7th 2016.

Now, you are all probably wondering what books were highlighted at the event, and there was a lot of them. I’m not going to go through the entire list, but rather share with you the five books that I came out of the event desiring the most. So without further ado, let’s highlight some of the most wanted titles!


Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure
by Ann M. Martin, Annie Parnell, Ben Hatke (Release Date: September 6th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends)

Surprise! I bet you weren’t expecting a middle grade title to be my most anticipated book from the event, but here we are. I ADORED Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign and it was one of my favourite books the year I read it. I also am a huge lover of Ben Hatke’s artwork, so to have two people who’s works I love be in the same book? It’s a win for me. Missy Piggle-Wiggle sounds delightful charming, in the vein of books likes The Penderwicks, which I love. This one looks fun, quirky, and I think the team on this can totally stick the landing.


A Darkly Beating Heart
by Lindsay Smith (Release Date: October 25th 2016 by Roaring Brook Press)

Japan? Time travel? Lindsay Smith knows how to write historical novels and give them interesting twists. This novel moves between modern day Japan and the 19th century, and focuses on LGBT issues in Japan. Not to mention it sounds like quite the thrill ride, and who doesn’t love a good timeslip story where the heroine fights for injustice in two realms? Could be fantastic!


Vassa in the Night
by Sarah Porter (Release Date: September 20th 2016 by Tor Teen)

First off, this cover. This cover is beautiful. Second, the book is inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful, which I had never heard of and did some research on. This book sounds eerie, but also intriguing. There’s witch’s, curses, and it’s all done in the backdrop if Brooklyn. Definitely could be an interesting fantasy pick to recommend when I’m working with teens at the library. BUT HOLY SMOKES THIS COVER.


With Malice
by Eileen Cook (Release Date: June 7th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers)

Okay, so this one is a cheat, given the author was at the event. This is also not a fall title being released (DON’T JUDGE!), but after hearing Eileen Cook talk about this one, I know it’s a book I’d probably enjoy quite a bit. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Jill, and I am a sucker for a revenge story, and a book that takes place in Italy. I am definitely going to be grabbing this when it releases, and I’m glad it’s getting a lot of positive attention from bloggers as well.


Gertie’s Leap to Greatness
by Kate Beasley (Release Date: October 4th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

This debut middle grade novel features illustrations by¬†Jillian Tamaki and a zombie bull frog. How can anyone say no to these things? I certainly can’t. We have a heroine who wants to be the greatest fifth grader that ever lived, and how can you not love a heroine who has a lot of conviction? Gertie sounds AWESOME and it looks like the kind of book I’d love to read and likely read in one sitting. Awesomeness to come? I think so!

And there you have it! Are any of these books on your radar? They probably should be. A huge thank you to Raincoast for inviting me to the event and being able to share there upcoming titles with all the bloggers in attendance. I had an amazing time, and I hope that all five of these books live up to the hype that I’ve put into my brain. When you have books like these, it’s no wonder why fall is an exciting time in the publishing industry!

River and Sam’s Top Five Books We Want To Get Our Hands on in 2016

Once again we are coming to the end of the year, and once again there are an insane amount of 2016 releases that River and I are insanely excited for. Well, let’s be real, the one book we both want more than anything is The Raven King, but there are others, we swear! Today I thought we’d share the Top Five book we cannot wait for that are releasing in 2016.

River’s Top Five:


  1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab
  3. Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
  4. Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker
  5. The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno

Sam’s Top Five:

A Gathering of Shadows Final

  1. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab (as well as This Savage Song!)
  2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (as well as the next Pip Bartlett book!)
  3. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  4. The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
  5. A Week Without Tuesday by Angelica Banks

What are your most anticipated 2016 reads that you need to get your hands on ASAP? Let us know in the comments, because we want to hear about it.

Five Middle Grade Reads to Devour in the Winter

Fall is almost over, and winter is going to be settling in very soon. I find Fall and Spring are when I read the most middle grade, and I think it has to do with the weather and events that are going on in a middle grader’s life. Fall always signifies the end of summer, so it’s back to school, back to reality. Spring signifies birth and new life, and for a lot of middle graders it’s a time for change and the end of the school year. I thought I’d share a few of my recent middle grade faves with you all and while you should cozy up with them come winter.


The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester

This was easily one of my favourite reads in October. This book is such an intense read, and Forester’s writing is so easy to fall in love with. The characters in this story are just wonderfully crafted and it’s easy to root for them. This book even has a few twists and turns that I admit, I didn’t even see coming. While it’s a chunky book (over 400 pages!), it’s one that if you get yourself a nice large cup of tea, you’ll devour in no time.


The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

My other favourite middle grade read from October. This book is dark, humourous, and delightful. It’s about ghosts, family, and striving to preserve the things that matter most in your life. Plus it has a talking cat! The characters are fantastic in this story, and they are so funny.¬†Olivia is easily a heroine who will steal your heart. Perfect for fall, especially around Halloween.


The Wrinkled Crown
by Anne Nesbet

This was my first Anne Nesbet novel, and I’m definitely going to be checking out more of her books now. This book screams fall read, from it’s gorgeous cover, to the musical contents inside. This book reads very old school fantasy, so it also has the appeal for adult fantasy fans as well.¬†Linny is a great heroine — she’s smart, inquisitive, and she will put a huge smile on your face. Plus there’s twins! Mismatched twins no less! Again, this book is great for those cold fall nights where you want to be whisked away to parts unknown.


The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: Percy Jackson ain’t got nothing on The Blackthorn Key. Nothing against good old Percy, but I feel like this book deserves more praise and buzz just because it’s such an intelligent middle grade read. Not only does it encourage middle graders to solve puzzles and decode them, but our heroes in this book are just so damn awesome. I devoured this book back in the summer, and it’s one of those reads where I feel like if you go in not knowing much about it, the ride will be so much more rewarding. Seriously, check this one out.


Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

This book made me cry in public. I was reading it on the bus and it just destroyed me. It’s a book that focuses on the power of imagination and how to combat homelessness. It asks readers to consider what happens when you lose nearly everything — how do you carry on? Crenshaw the Cat will steal your heart and remind you that life is still worth living and that even the tough stuff can be dealt with if you have a little bit of faith. This book is fantastic for those who love having strong, emotional connections to characters.

So these are some of my recent favourite fallish middle grade readers. What are some of yours? Please let me know in the comments some of your new favourites!

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.