Book Event: HarperCollins Canada YA Fall Preview

In August, I was invited to the Frenzy Fall Preview at HarperCollins Canada! I was so honoured to be invited. I had a very busy September, because I finished my Master’s, so I’m sorry that it took so long to write this post.

These are the books that I’m most looking forward to this Fall:

Pride by Ibi Zoboi:

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Goodreads synopsis:

Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge.

When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all—nothing, except themselves.

Now, Ev spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes.

Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was.

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Content warnings are available at www.lauraeweymouth.com/books

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods.

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it.

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

Swing  by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Things usually do not go as planned for seventeen-year-old Noah. He and his best friend Walt (aka Swing) have been cut from the high school baseball team for the third year in a row, and it looks like Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, will never take it past the “best friend” zone. Noah would love to retire his bat and accept the status quo, but Walt has big plans for them both, which include making the best baseball comeback ever, getting the girl, and finally finding cool.

To go from lovelorn to ladies’ men, Walt introduces Noah to a relationship guru—his Dairy Queen-employed cousin, Floyd—and the always informative Woohoo Woman Podcast. Noah is reluctant, but decides fate may be intervening when he discovers more than just his mom’s birthday gift at the thrift shop. Inside the vintage Keepall is a gold mine of love letters from the 1960s. Walt is sure these letters and the podcasts are just what Noah needs to communicate his true feelings to Sam. To Noah, the letters are more: an initiation to the curious rhythms of love and jazz, as well as a way for him and Walt to embrace their own kind of cool. While Walt is hitting balls out of the park and catching the eye of the baseball coach, Noah composes anonymous love letters to Sam in an attempt to write his way into her heart. But as things are looking up for Noah and Walt, a chain of events alters everything Noah knows to be true about love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate.

In Swing, bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo) present a free-verse poetic story that will speak to anyone who’s struggled to find their voice and take a swing at life.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

The Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

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Goodreads Synopsis:

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

The author Laurie Forest was also there! It was so exciting to meet her. She talked about her new book The Iron Flower, which is the second book in the Black Witch Chronicles. We also received copies of both The Black Witch and The Iron Flower, which she signed.

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And finally, the swag bags:

There were also three ARCs in the bags. I received these highly anticipated books:

This was an amazing event! It was my first Fall Preview event, and it was everything I expected it to be. Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada and Frenzy for inviting me to this event!

BookCon 2018 – My first time!

Last month, I went to BookCon for the very first time! I absolutely loved it!

It was a little overwhelming at first, because there was so much to do! I went both days, so I was able to go to most of the things that I missed the second day. One thing that was helpful was the guide that was provided. On the second day, we were all given a little magazine that listed all of the highlights and giveaways for the day! It was a huge help and I was able to plan my day that way. I wish something like that had been provided on the first day as well, rather than just the program which listed the exhibits and authors.

I saw the lovely Sandhya Menon on the exhibit floor, so I stopped to speak to her. She’s amazing and I just love her books!

The only autographing session I was able to sign up for was Leigh Bardugo. I love her books so much! She’s an amazing writer. It was such a pleasure to meet her!

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This is one of the shirts I bought. I also purchased the BookCon 2018 shirt with my tickets, but I couldn’t resist this tank!

I didn’t take as many photos the second day, but here’s one of my favourites. My best friend, Marsilda, came with me on the second day (my mom went with me on the first), and we had to get a photo with Peppa Pig! It was a fun moment for us.

And finally, here’s my book haul. I got 22 books in total. My goal for this trip was to get as many free books as possible. I didn’t realize, at first, that I would have to get into long lines for the special ARCs, so I didn’t the highly anticipated books that I wanted. However, I did get a bunch signed by authors on the floor including two books from Quirk Books. I also got the coveted sample of King of Scars!

Overall, it was a great experience. I’m not sure if I’m going next year, but I’m glad I went.

Did you go to BookCon this year or in the past? What did you think of it?

Author Event: Victoria Aveyard

About a month ago I went to an Indigo event with Victoria Aveyard! We stood on the balcony of the Yorkdale Indigo store so we would have a better view of the interview, because it was packed downstairs. I loved hearing her speak about her writing process. She’s a very talented writer. And she’s so young too! She is a huge inspiration to me.

I didn’t meet her and get a book signed there, because I preordered a signed copy of the book from Indigo. This was my first Indigo Book Box, which was amazing! It had a signed copy of the book along with a note from Victoria and a little candle. I loved it! I hope they make more of these.

This was a great event, and I can’t wait to read the book!

Have you met any authors recently?

Montreal YA Festival

Last weekend I went to the best book festival! It was the first Montreal YA festival, and it was amazing!

First, there were three sessions of panels. The first one I went to was called “New On The Scene” and featured the authors Nic Stone, Gloria Chao, S.M. Beiko, and J.F. Dubeau. This was a great panel for aspiring authors, because they talked about their journey to being published.

The next panel I went to was called “Far Off Places, Daring Sword Fights, Magic Spells… A Prince in Disguise!” and featured the authors Danielle Paige, Sarah Mlynowski, S.M. Beiko, and Karl Kerschl. I went to this panel because I want to write a fantasy novel after I finish my current book. These authors gave great advice, and I’ve been working on my fantasy idea since then.

The last panel I went to was “Uncharted Territory” with the authors Sarah Mlynowski, Brendan Kiely, Adi Alsaid, and Chantel Guertin. This one was interesting, because most of the authors had been on the same road trips that their characters went on in their books.

Now came the best part: the book signing! Since it was such a small festival, I was able to have some chats with authors that I wouldn’t normally be able to speak with at a large event. I spoke with Gloria Chao, who wrote the amazing book American Panda. It was so great to meet her because we’ve chatted online. I also spoke to Brendan Kiely, who has written multiple books including Tradition, which I reviewed on a blog tour. Some other great authors I spoke to are Sarah Mlynowski, E.K. Johnston, Danielle Paige, and Nic Stone.

This was a great festival! I hope they do it again next year! I’ll definitely be there.

Also a special thank you to my dad, for going with me and taking most of the photos in this post! He used his amazing photography skills to get some great shots of the festival! You can check out his website, Pics by Rob.

Tomorrow I’m going to BookCon!! It’s my first time going, so I’m super excited!

Did you go to Montreal YA Fest? Are you going to BookCon? What is your favourite book festival?

Book Event: Joanna Goodman and Ellen Keith at the HarperCollins Canada office!

A couple of weeks ago, I found out about an event at HarperCollins Canada where Joanna Goodman and Ellen Keith were speaking, so I immediately signed up for it. It was so great! It was also my first time at the HarperCollins Canada offices in downtown Toronto, so that was super exciting too!

We all got copies of their books! I already had a copy of The Home for Unwanted Girls, which I bought at the book launch the previous week, but I was so glad to get a copy of The Dutch Wife!

I love hearing authors speak at these events! As a writer who hopes to one day sit in those chairs, I find them very inspiring. Ellen spoke about how she was thinking about giving up on writing when she got the call that she was going to be published! I can totally relate to that, and I hope to one day get my own work published!

Joanna and Ellen were so nice during the signing! There was a huge line and the rooms were so hot because of the glass walls, but they chatted with each person who was getting their book signed.

And finally, here are my signed copies:

I love going to author events! Who was your favourite author to meet?

Indigo Event: Becky Albertalli, Angie Thomas, and Julie Murphy

Monday night I went to an Indigo event at Yorkdale in Toronto featuring Becky Albertalli, Angie Thomas, and Julie Murphy. This is the first time I’ve gone to a signing with three authors. It was longer than most author events but it was so amazing!

The stories they told about their books were so fascinating. They described their characters and their inspiration. Some of Angie’s stories gave me goosebumps, they were so good!

This was a fabulous event! I’m so glad I went. I’ll be reading and reviewing these books in the coming weeks!