A group of Toronto-area bloggers were invited to attend the Harper Collins Canada fall preview for their upcoming YA titles over in the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto. LV has a special place in my heart as I lived in the area for just over 4 years and (begrudgingly) moved out – only to hopefully return some time soon. The area has changed a lot since I moved 2.5 years ago but vocado boutique, where this Frenzy Presents evening was being held, was there even when I lived there. I was curious to how this would work, with a book preview party in a clothing store and it was a lovely intimate setting that worked quite well for the format of the evening.
Andrea (Cozy Up With a Good Read) and I met up after work to head over and grab some food. I had wanted to check out Williams Landing, the rooftop patio bar that had sprung up after my departure from the neighbourhood. We were starving and wanted to enjoy the gorgeous weather. Plus, with our Foursquare check-in, we were eligible for a free appetizer dip so we definitely had quite the table full of food when Angel (Mermaid Visions) walked in! To be fair, I thought I was ordering a pulled pork sandwich and only realized once it arrived that it was pulled pork (and bacon, and cheese) ON TOP of a burger patty! So excessive, but so delicious. Jenn (Lost in a Great Book) joined us to help out with some of the yummy Liberty Dip before the four of us headed over to vocado at 7pm.
Vikki greeted us at the door and explained the format for the evening. There were 5 “stations” with different themes and different representatives who would chat with us about their selection of books. Kinda like a mingling/speed dating type set-up. I absolutely loved this format… getting to hear and learn about a lot of great upcoming new books that I’ll share below. The only tough part was trying to remember what everyone said, since we were all standing around a small space and couldn’t easily write anything down. Otherwise though, a much more interactive way to talk about a lot of awesome books!
Kaiti | Contemporary
- How to Love by Katie Cotugno | A boy, after disappearing for years, sees the girl he once loved- who now has a child. This boy-meets-girl story is about falling in love… twice! I actually got to see Katie at BEA during a panel on contemporary YA and they spoke about the “resurgence” of contemporary with the help (and success) of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.
- The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (formerly known as Severed Heads, Broken Hearts – which I thought sounded pretty awesome but might give the wrong idea that it’s not a contemporary I guess..) I actually saw Robyn at the same contemporary YA panel that I just mentioned too. I hadn’t realized she was the author of this book since I didn’t know at the time of the title change. This novel is about how one tragic moment can change one’s life drastically for the bad and the good.
Jessica | Creeptastic
- 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil | This reminded me a bit of a creepy version of Alice Through the Looking Glass. There’s been a lot of online buzz on it and it totally gave me goosebumps while Jessica told us about it! Two girls who look alike are living parallel lives and discover they can interact with each other through a mirror for one minute each day at 3:59.
- Asylum by Madeleine Roux | SO HOOKED. This was one of the ones that really captured my interest (as it did with Rebecca of omfg!books too!). With real found photos, like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, this book follows a school summer program that has their living quarters in a former sanatorium for the criminally insane. Cue the creepiness. Cue the mysterious thrills and chills.
- The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney | Described as “The Dark Knight” as a female character, the main character finds herself caught up with a bad group of people. When she falls to her death, she wakes up to discover that her heart has been replaced with a bionic one and she’s out to seek revenge.
Shannon | The New Mythology
- Descendant (Starling, #2) by Lesley Livingston | The sequel to Lesley’s Norse mythology book Starling that was released last year. More werewolves! More… nakedness…..? More Lesley!
- The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White | A book about Egyptian mythology! There really aren’t too many of those and there’s so much potential with that kind of theme. The main character is the human daughter of Egyptian gods and all she wants is to live a normal life. She moves away only to discover that she’s starting to have horrifying dream that involve her family and must decide if she wants to remain living a normal life or to face her heritage.
Cora Carmack, author of Losing It & Faking It | New Adult
- Talked about New Adult books she enjoyed like Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire and Easy by Tammara Webber. Not many of us knew too much about the New Adult genre, or whether books we’ve read had counted in that category.
- Cora also signed copies of her first book Losing It and talked about the sequel Faking It – which can be read as a standalone. She’s also got several e-novellas in the works in the coming year – busy gal!
- Losing It is about a girl who wants to lose her virginity before her imminent college graduation. She thinks the best way to rectify that is to have a one-night stand but ends up freaking out and leaving. Imagine her mortification when she walks into class of her last semester and sees that the one night stand is her theatre professor.
- I absolutely had to ask Cora about the theatre professor character since it’s not necessarily a common occupation in YA/NA novels and discovered that we both were theatre school grads! Cora said while there aren’t many books that deal with theatre, the ones that she’s read don’t necessarily portray that theatre life in an accurate way. It always seemed more idealized of what people think it’s like rather than what it is. <– THAT made me want to read this book even more. (Also, I love the covers.)
Suman | New Voices
- If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan | Suman loved this book so much and I’m incredibly excited to read it. I picked it up at BEA and was one of the ones I was determined to find. Set in Iran, two young women are in love but one is set to be married through an arranged marriage. The other, heartbroken, vows to get a sex change so that they could be together. I can already anticipate all the feels that me, and others, will be sure to have while reading this novel.
- Gloss by Marilyn Kaye | I hadn’t heard of this book but apparently it had just come out. Described a bit as Gossip Girl meets Mad Men meets Devil Wears Prada, Gloss takes place in New York City of the 1960’s when a group of girls
- Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis | This book was also a big “buzz” book at BEA. In a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world, the land is ravaged by a drought and people have come to be protective of their land and property. This story is about survival and trying to trust others when all survival instincts are screaming otherwise.
After making the rounds, we were welcomed to mingle and shop (thanks to vocado for the 15% off sale for the evening!) before some of us started to head out. Upon leaving, Vikki gave us lovely gift bags with a selection of 2 of the featured books from the preview! There were a few that I already picked up at BEA so I peeked a bit to not get ones I already had and others could enjoy them. My bag had Asylum and The Beginning of Everything plus a button, fortune cookie and Gloss lipgloss (hah- cute!)
An immense thank you to the Harper Collins/Frenzy/Savvy Reader team that put this all together, Cora Carmack for joining us for the evening and vocado boutique for the great space!