I just wanted to take this time to say Happy New Year! It’s 2018, can you believe it? 2017 was definitely a rollercoaster ride for me in pretty much every aspect. I went through a ton of job changes, went on a month-long European trip with my best friends, I got Invisalign (invisible braces), and a romance, went back to school, became a co-blogger at Arctic Books and got a nose ring!
Yeah, a year is a long time, but you should live it up to the fullest. I am extremely thankful to my parents, my family, my friends but most importantly, I am thankful for YOU READERS. Books at Dawn wouldn’t be what it is without you guys, and I am extremely humbled that you keep coming back to read my mumble jumble about the things I love most; books!
Here is to another fantastic year @ Books at Dawn. Have a safe and happy new year Bookworms!
Can you believe it’s a couple days until 2018? Oh man, has time just flown by this year. There were so many books I wanted to read this year, but sadly I couldn’t get to all of them. Hopefully, I can rectify that next year.
I decided to compile a list of 2017 books that I really wanted to read but just couldn’t get to this year.
Since last time I let you know what I look for in a YA contemporary, I thought I would do the same for me favorite genre! I would say my reading is 75% fantasy/SFF and 25% contemporary. I wouldn’t call myself a fantasy expert in the least, but I do know what I like when it comes to a fantasy novel!
Not all the fantasy novels I read must have all these requirements (I mean it would be nice, but life doesn’t work that way), but at least it should have 2 to 3 of them. So let’s just dive right in shall we?
As you probably know from following me that I generally prefer to read fantasy and sci-fi novels. But time and time again I need to let my brain take a break from new worlds, wondrous magic and battles of epic proportion. That’s when I turn to the contemporary genre in all it’s glorious real life story-telling.
I won’t just read any contemporary though. There are certain specifications that I look for from the synopsis, and other reader’s reviews. I thought it would be a fun idea and list what it is I look for before I pick up a YA contemporary!
2017 has been an exciting book reading year for me. I have almost already surpassed the amount of books I read last year and we are only 6 months into the year. Here’s to doubling that and reading some amazing books!
1. BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017?
I have 2 books for this question. Neither one surpassed the other in greatness in my opinion. I loved them both to death!!
Today is July 1st, which means it is Canada Day! This year marks Canada’s 150 birthday since becoming a country back in 1867. Canada in my opinion is the best country in the world! I am proud to be Canadian, and so are these amazing Canadian YA authors.
I thought it would be a fun post to make with all my favourite Canadian recommendations. It’s a bit of a long list, but I hope you can stick around until the end!
Morgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess — the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, and is an extremely picky, yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a national bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy.
Falling Kingdoms Series
Spirits and Thieves Series
E.K. Johnston had several jobs and one vocation before she became a published writer. If she’s learned anything, it’s that things turn out weird sometimes, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Well, that and how to muscle through awkward fanfic because it’s about a pairing she likes.
Her books range from contemporary fantasy (The Story of Owen, Prairie Fire), to fairy-tale reimaginings (A Thousand Nights, Spindle), and from small town Ontario (Exit, Pursued By A Bear), to a galaxy far, far away (Star Wars: Ahsoka). She has no plans to rein anything in.
A Thousand Nights Duology
EXIT, Pursued by a Bear
That Inevitable Victorian Thing
Star Wars Ahsoka
Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write. Her earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make her produce “normal” stories failed.
Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon. She’s the author of the NYT-bestselling “Women of the Otherworld” paranormal suspense series and “Darkest Powers” young adult urban fantasy trilogy, as well as the Nadia Stafford crime series. Armstrong lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets.
Darkest Powers Series
Age of Legends Series
Since escaping from university with a pair of degrees in theoretical physics, Kevin Sands has worked as a researcher, a business consultant, a teacher, and a professional poker player. He lives in Toronto, Canada. He is the author of the bestselling The Blackthorn Key series.
The Blackthorn Key Series
Hi! My name is Erin Bow — physicist turned poet turned author of young adult novels that will make you cry on the bus. I’m a white girl, forty-something, feminist, geeky enough to do the Vulcan salute with both hands — in public. I live in Canada. I love to cook, hate to clean, and yes, I do own a cat.
Prisoners of Peace Duology
S. K. Ali is the author of Saints and Misfits. She lives in Toronto with her family, which includes a very vocal cat named Yeti. She is currently working on her second YA novel, featuring an ensemble cast of diverse souls, as well as LOVE.
Saints & Misfits
Sarah Raughley grew up in Southern Ontario writing stories about freakish little girls with powers because she secretly wanted to be one. She is a huge fangirl of anything from manga to SF/F TV to Japanese Role Playing Games, but she will swear up and down that she was inspired by ~Jane Austin~ at book signings. On top of being a YA Writer, she is currently completing a PhD in English, because the sight of blood makes her queasy (which crossed Medical School off the list).
Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.
Rebel of the Sands Series
I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia…At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords and sorcery tales (my Dungeons and Dragons phase) and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games (written, of course, during my video game phase). It turned out to be quite a long story, really a short novel, and I rewrote it the next summer. We had a family friend who knew Roald Dahl – one of my favourite authors – and this friend offered to show Dahl my story. I was paralysed with excitement. I never heard back from Roald Dahl directly, but he read my story, and liked it enough to pass on to his own literary agent. I got a letter from them, saying they wanted to take me on, and try to sell my story. And they did.
Every Hidden Thing
LESLEY LIVINGSTON is a writer living in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of twelve books to date. Her first novel, WONDROUS STRANGE, was winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year 2010, a White Pine Honour Book, shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction, and in 2015 was named one of CBC’s “100 YA Books That Make You Proud To Be Canadian”. DARKLIGHT, the second book in this series was a finalist for the Indigo Teen Read Awards. The concluding volume in the trilogy, TEMPESTUOUS, was a finalist for the Monica Hughes Award. These books have sold to more than ten countries to date, and WONDROUS STRANGE has been optioned for film/TV by Shaftesbury Films. Her other trilogies have both won the Copper Cylinder award for Young Adult fiction.
Wondrous Strange Series
The Valiant Series
Amy Alward is a 30-something Chinese-White author, born in the UK and raised in Canada, currently based in Toronto. In 2013, she was listed as one of The Bookseller’s Rising Stars. Her debut fantasy adventure novel, The Oathbreaker’s Shadow, was published in 2013 under the name Amy McCulloch and was longlisted for the 2014 Branford Boase Award for best UK debut children’s book. Her first book written as Amy Alward, The Potion Diaries, was an international success and the second novel in the series, The Potion Diaries: Royal Tour will be published in August 2016. She loves travelling the world, researching extraordinary settings and intriguing stories for future books.
Elly Blake loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of seemingly random jobs, including project manager, customs clerk, graphic designer, reporter for a local business magazine, and library assistant. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky mix who definitely shows Frostblood tendencies.
Danielle L. Jensen
Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of the acclaimed Malediction Trilogy: Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress, and Warrior Witch (Angry Robot Books). A prequel, The Broken Ones, will hit shelves in June 2017.
Danielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.
National bestselling author Eve Silver has been praised for her “edgy, steamy, action-packed” books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines. Her work has garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Quill and Quire, two RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Library Journal’s Best Genre Fiction Award, and she was nominated for the Romance Writers of America® RITA® Award. The first book in Eve’s new teen series, THE GAME: RUSH, is available now. Watch for PUSH, coming from Katherine Tegen Books, June 2014.
Eve lives with her husband, two sons, an energetic Airedale terrier and an exuberant border collie/shepherd.
The Game Series
Rachel Hartman’s first YA fantasy novel, SERAPHINA, will be published by Random House on July 10th, 2012.
Rachel was born in Kentucky, but has lived a variety of places including Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, England, and Japan. She has a BA in Comparative Literature, although she insists it should have been a BS because her undergraduate thesis was called “Paradox and Parody in Don Quixote and the satires of Lucian.” She eschewed graduate school in favour of drawing comic books. She now lives in Vancouver, BC, with her family, their whippet, and a talking frog and salamander (who fight zombies)(really. There are a lot of zombies in the Pacific Northwest).
M-E GIRARD is a Canadian writer of contemporary fiction—mostly young adult fiction, sometimes new adult fiction, usually queer fiction, and always about girls. Her debut novel GIRL MANS UP will be published in September 2016 by HarperTeen/HarperCollins and HarperCollins Canada. M-E was a fellow of the 2013 and 2015 Lambda Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices. Her writing has appeared in Plenitude Magazine. M-E is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Writers’ Community of Durham Region.
Girl Mans Up
Amy McCulloch is a Canadian living in London, who fits writing around work as a Editorial Director at one of the UK’s leading children’s publishers.
She was bitten by the travel bug at an early age while accompanying her parents on buying trips around the world for their oriental carpet business. It was this love of travel that inspired her to set a novel in a hot, desert location (moving to freezing Ottawa, Canada, where her first winter hit -40°C, might have had something to do with that too). She studied Medieval and Old English literature at the University of Toronto.
The Knots Sequence
I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, where I enjoy wandering around in the wilderness and only occasionally getting lost. I’ve also spent extended periods of time in Italy, where I learned very little Italian but ate quite a lot of pizza, and Ireland, where I searched half-successfully for puffins and selkies.
Before becoming a writer I worked, among other things, as an archaeologist, a technical writer, and a backstage assistant for a Shakespearean theatre company (which I could write several novels about). I have a Master’s degree in English Literature and briefly considered becoming a professor, before I realized it involved more than reading books, drinking excessive amounts of tea, and wearing colourful elbow patches.
Even the Darkest Stars Duology
Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She spent her childhood running wild with her cousins, adventuring in the woods, building forts in the barn, and obsessing over books, dragons, and girls wielding really cool weapons.
I’m a writer, teacher and designer living in Vancouver, Canada.
In 2014 I was the Writer in Residence at Vancouver Public Library. In 2015 I was nominated for the BC Book Prizes and chosen to tour the province to promote BC Books. I have also been nominated for the White Pine Award and the CLA Award. I won the Westchester Award for Audacious. Audacious was included in CBC’s list of 100 YA Books That Make You Proud to be Canadian. A poem from Capricious was chosen for the 2014 Poetry in Transit Program. Pandas on the East Side was chosen as an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for Junior Fiction in 2016.
The Nahx Invasions Series
There you have it! Some of my favourite Canadian authors and their amazing books. Have you read any of these? If so which ones are your favourite?
Today I thought it would be fun to do a tag, but not tag anyone. Basically I just wanted to do something fun without the hassle of going through my follows and tagging others to do it as well. So if this interested you, then by all means and give it a try!
It all started at Laura from Laura’s Book Reviews!
You must answer all of these questions truthfully and once you’ve completed this tag, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer the questions next.
What are your top three book pet hates?
Cover changes after I bought the first book!
Bending page corners to mark place in book.
Being talked to while I’m trying to read. Can’t y’all see the book in my face?
Describe your perfect reading spot.
Man I wish I had a cool reading corner/room/nook because that would be the most ideal reading spot. Sadly, I have either my bed or the rocking chair in the living room.
Tell us three book confessions.
I only just got a library card for the first time last month. (I’m 25 years old)
I go into book stores just to smell and flip through the books.
I reorganize my book shelves every month.
When was the last time you cried at a book?
Hmm… I don’t think I’ve cried while reading a book. I have come super close though.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
The 5 Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
How many books are on your bedside table?
Five… yeah. I’m a book polygamist.
What is your favorite snack whist you’re reading?
I can’t eat and read at the same time. I find it too distracting and I don’t want to dirty the pages. So I will just brew some tea or have water/juice with me.
Name three books you’d recommend to everyone.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
Show us a picture of your favorite shelf on your bookcase.
I am way too lazy to snap a picture of my shelf, and they are overcrowded and messy at the moment. But here is a picture of someone else’s beautiful shelf!
Write how much books mean to you in 3 words.
Couldn’t live without.
What’s your biggest reading secret?
I secretly love audio books. Why is this a secret? Because I used to trash them and say how horrible they are and how hard it is to focus while listening to them.
I was wrong.
Well there you have it, The Book Blogger Test! Like I said above if you guys want to do this too, by all means. I tag EVERYBODY!
Spring has sprung and as quickly as it has come, it is unfortunately coming to a swift end. But on the bright side the weather will continue to warm up and it will be summer in no time!
Spring is a time for renewal and growth. Out with the old and in with the new! Same rules apply to books of course. Over the last three months I had the opportunity to read some awesome books that I wanted to highlight for you all today.
Let’s go into summer with our heads high, shades on, and splash into the deep ends of some more awesome books to come!
At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.
More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.
Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.
When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.
But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy–that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.
Why You Should Pick This Up:
LGBT+ character representations
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
Why You Should Pick This Up:
Wicked cool concept.
Has you guessing until the end.
Twists and turns around every corner!
The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.
Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?
Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.
What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.
Why You Should Pick This Up:
Exciting story concept.
LGBT+ character representation.
Pokes fun at the YA contemporary genre.
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer
A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.
It all started with the burning of the spindles.
It all started with a curse…
Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.
Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.
Why You Should Pick This Up:
Unique Sleeping Beauty retelling.
Strong lead heroines.
Fantastic world building.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
Welcome to Weep.
Why You Should Pick This Up:
Out of this world concept!
Amazing visual storytelling.
Well there you have it, my Top Spring Reads of 2017! Let me know what books you really enjoyed this Winter or if you read any of the ones I’ve listed here.
Today marks the day that I am officially back in Toronto after a long three week vacation back packing trip through Europe! Over those three weeks I was able to visit seven countries and ten cities. It’s suffice to say that I am exhausted and glad to be back to a regular routine.
The hardest part about being back is now I have to play catch up. I have blog posts to write, reviews to write, and more books and ARC’s to read. It’s going to be hectic over the next little while, but I’m going to try my best to get things done!
I hope your weekends are going well and you’re having a great time doing what you’re doing! I wanted to take this time to introduce to you guys a new guest blogger that I will be having on my blog for a permanent basis from now on.
She is none other than my big sister, Nicole! Just like me she is an avid reader that loves the mystery/thriller genre as well as historical fiction. From now on, Nicole will be posting reviews on the ARC’s and books that she’s reading. I’m hoping this will broaden my genre reach as I typically review books in the YA/Fantasy genres.
So if you enjoy adult fiction in the mystery/thriller/historical genres, then stay tuned for some awesome reviews to come your way!
I am married to Richard, who is the love of my life, and I am a mother to two beautiful children, Gabriel and Emily. Without these three-amazing people in my life, I would have lost the battle a long time ago. We are currently living back in our hometown Toronto, Ontario after living two short years in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
I love watching home renovations shows – I’m actually addicted! I enjoy watching TV in general, shows like Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Blue Bloods, This Is Us, Two Broke Girls. And yes, I have some guilty pleasures, Talk Shows, all of them! OH! And who doesn’t watch Say Yes to The Dress?! GUILTY!