A Savvy Readathon

On Sunday I participated in my first online readathon. The event was planned by the enthusiastic group of people at Harper Collins Canada that run the publisher’s marketing. During the session, participants were able to respond to questions and prompts on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram.

I chose two books that I would read during the readathon: The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning and The Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling. The first book I opened was an historical fiction set during World War II; and the second was part of my re-read of Harry Potter’s novels. I was not sure whether I would get to Harry’s story but I wanted to be prepared in case I finished Manning’s novel.

Even though I was participating in the readathon, I still wanted to go to my Sunday morning Zumba class therefore I did a little reading before I left home for my exercise class. The Song of the Jade Lily had captured my interest and I was ready to spend the entire day immersed in the book.

After Zumba I am always hungry and it was not long after arriving home that I made myself a quick lunch so that I could once again immerse myself in the story I was reading.

One of the fun things about the readathon was the questions that were asked on the hour. Around mid-afternoon, participants were asked what were their bad reading habits. I quickly snapped a photo in response. For some people leaving a book open flat while taking a quick break is definitely a no-no!

The readathon ended at 5pm. I did not get to complete my novel but I enjoyed reading along with other readers all over Canada. I enjoyed the conversations on social media and connected with many readers. The activity made me smile and I will definitely participate in the next one!

What has made you smile this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)


A Book Mail Smile

Yesterday I came home to bookmail – which I always love. My contact at Harper Collins Canada Had sent me two ARCs of historical novels that I am interested in reading. The covers are beautiful – especially the cover of The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning. I was so excited to read Kirsty Manning’s novel that I started it this morning while eating breakfast. The story depicts events during World War II and so far I have met a young Austrian Jewish girl.

My smile for this week is definitely the bookmail I opened when I got home from work yesterday.

What has made you smile this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Frenzy Presents Spring 2019 Releases

On Sunday morning I woke up excited to attend the Frenzy Presents event happening at the Harper Collins publishing house in Toronto. I love these events not only because everyone attending loves books and reading, but also because I get to hear of new releases and of stories that I would love to read. This event was extra special because both my daughters decided to come along with me. They were curious to see what the events were about and experience a little the vibe that I often enjoy. It is not often that I get to go out with my girls now that they are older teens and so I was pleased that they were willing to spend their Sunday morning with me (if you know any teens, you would know that giving up a Sunday morning sleep-in does not happen too often!).

There are many exciting Young Adult books that are planned to come out in the Spring. There were 8 titles in particular that I am excited to read:

Fantasy fiction is definitely my preferred genre. Add in romance and a little intrigue and I am sold! The Beholder by Annie Bright fits into this category and sounds like something I definitely want to read and will be available 4 June.

I love fairy tale retellings, don’t you? The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter is a Snow White spin-off told from the point of view of the stepmother. The premise sounds interesting and a little unusual. This tale will be available 25 June.

A Dress for the Wicked by Autumn Krause is a story set in the world of high fashion  – a little like The Devil Wears Prada. This novel is a little historical and touches on the theme of deception. I will have to wait until 6 August to read this one.

Both my daughter and I cannot wait to read The Beckoning Shadow  by Katharyn Blair which comes out 2 July. This is a fantasy novel that depicts a human that has some magic and has to fight for her survival. Sounds exciting!

I am a Jane Austen fan and when I heard that Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh was a retelling of Sense and Sensibility, I was in. This contemporary novel is out 4 June.

Last Things by Jacqueline West sounds a little creepy – but intriguing nonetheless. This is one I will definitely head out to pick up on 7 May.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven is a contemporary novel that deals with an important issue – bullying. I believe this novel will be an important one for teens who are currently in a bullying relationship. I look forward to seeing what the author discusses in this one on 11 June.

Isn’t the cover of this novel absolutely stunning? It is for this reason that I would open With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I am sure this book will attract the eye when it is put on the shelves on 7 May.

The event ended with each blogger receiving a tote bag filled with goodies. I love the pillow slip and will enjoy the tea. I look forward to sharing with you what I think of the ARCs that I received.

Do any of the titles I listed interest you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019


Frenzy Presents Ben Philippe

Yesterday evening I attended an event to celebrate the release of Ben Philippe’s debut novel The Field Guide to the North American Teenager (you can read my review here). The event, held by Harper Collins Canada for book bloggers, took place at a pie and coffee shop in the Kensington area of Toronto. As my daughter and I walked along the street, we recognised that we had strolled along the same road during the past summer and that we had actually walked past this store front but not gone in. We walked in, curious about this venue that had been chosen by the organisers of the event.

The vibe at the venue was thrumming once everyone had arrived and we were all keen to hear Ben Philippe speak. Most of us had already read his novel and wished to learn a little more about the writer. Unfortunately he did not speak long to the large group as the venue was noisy and he could not be heard clearly. However when he personalised the copies of our books, we had the opportunity to speak to him a bit. I loved that he is enthusiastic about his story, and that he was curious how people responded to the ending. I agree with the way he ended the story, though not everyone in attendance did.

My daughter and I had a lovely evening at the event. We met new people, had the chance to meet a wonderful debut author, and had some key lime pie (which is often mentioned in the novel 🙂 )

Do you wish to read The Field Guide to the North American Teenager?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week Filled with Authorly Things

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for the late meet-up. This week has been crazy busy. I am happy to say, though, that it was not at all work related.  🙂  My work has suffered a lot as I have left school soon after the bell rang for the end of the day. Even though I will spend this week trying to catch up on my marking, the events I attended were all worth it. There are times when you have to do things for yourself – and the past week was one of those times.

My week began as every other week. On Wednesday, however, it deviated from the norm. I had won tickets to see The Wife as well as the book written by Meg Wolitzer (you can see my review here). My husband was not interested in seeing the film once I had told him the synopsis. Instead I asked a colleague of mine to go watch the film with me. We left school as soon as we could after the last bell had rung so that we could see the early show. The film adaptation of the book was excellent. And what was perfect is that I felt the same emotions I had experienced when reading the book. We both loved the film and were still talking about it on Thursday.

On Thursday, I went to another author event held by Harper Collins Publishing. At the event I had the opportunity to listen to two debut authors speak about their psychological thrillers which will be coming out next year. Their answers to the questions posed to them suggests that their novels will be filled with twists and surprises. I look forward to reading them (we received copies of the ARCS at the event) as I do love twisty thrillers.

On Friday the Toronto International Festival of Authors began. My husband is not interested in going to author events but my cousin was willing to keep me company. On Friday we went to hear Miriam Toews speak; and yesterday we heard a panel of authors speak: Kelley Armstrong, Michael Robotham, and Amy Stuart. We have loved the talks so far and look forward to the others we intend to listen to next weekend. The events are continuing during the week but we decided to attend only those that are occurring over the days when we don’t have to get up early to go to work the next day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I need to finish getting ready for work. Sorry once again for the late catch up. Hopefully this week will be less busy and I will have more time to do some blogging. Have a wonderful week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

A Frenzy Presents Event

Yesterday I was lucky to be able to attend an event organised by Harper Collins Canada. I had connected with the marketing people over Twitter as a book blogger and a spot was offered to me to attend. I went yesterday not knowing what to expect but with a sense of anticipation. As I stepped into the venue, I could feel the excitement as book people chatted about the upcoming titles in Young Adult fiction.

I did not know what to expect and was pleased to receive a copy of Laurie Forest’s books – she was the guest author at the event. The Black Witch was published last year; The Iron Flower will come out in the Fall. These novels are fantasy fiction (my favourite kind) and I look forward to reading them in the upcoming weeks. Before the author spoke, each member of the Harper Collins team told us what books they had enjoyed reading – there are a number that interested me and which I am eager to read (all of them fantasy fiction!). And to top it all, before leaving the event each person received a bag filled with goodies – including 3 arcs. 🙂

The event was definitely a book lover’s perfect event. I will spend the next week enjoying the swag given to us – the best activity to immerse myself in before school starts next week!

Have you ever been to a bookish event?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful For Author Event.

Last week Thursday I was lucky enough to be able to attend another author event at Harper Collins Publishing Canada. I was excited to meet the authors as there has been quite a bit of buzz about these books on twitter. The added bonus was that I got to see once again the breathtaking views from the publisher’s offices:

Listening to the authors Karma Brown, Tish Cohen and Uzma Jalaluddin was so interesting. The women had already presented together at other events resulting in joking and gentle teasing. I loved that they made us laugh – and yet were serious when they told us about the inspiration for their stories and spoke a bit about their writing process and supports. The added treat was when they were signing the copies of our books – they chatted personally with us and were not in any rush to leave. Their manner really endeared me to them.

This week I am grateful for the author event organised by Harper Collins Canada. I love getting to meet authors and speaking to others who love books as much as I do.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Book Review: The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith

After the fast-paced detective story I had completed (9 Dragons by Michael Connelly), I was ready for a more serious novel and picked up my signed copy of The Dutch Wife by debut author Ellen Keith. The story interested me as I have some Dutch background and had heard my family tell a few stories of the second world war as well as the Dutch Resistance against Nazi Germany.

The Dutch Wife begins its story in Amsterdam, May 1943, with the arrest of Marijke de Graaf and her husband, both members of the Dutch Resistance. They are deported to separate concentration camps in Germany. once there, Marijke is faced with a terrible choice: to accept a slow and certain death in the labour camp, or to join a camp brothel for a chance of survival.

The reader is also introduced to Karl Muller, an SS officer who arrives at the camp hoping to live up to his father’s expectations of war time glory. Faced with the brutal routine of overseeing punishments and executions, he longs for an escape. When he meets the newly arrived Marijke, the meeting changes both of their lives forever.

The narrative set in an SS labour camp is interwoven with that of Luciano Wagner and his 1977 experience during the Argentine Dirty War. In his struggle to endure military captivity, he searches for ways to resist from a prison cell that he may never leave.

The Dutch Wife is a novel about love, resistance, the blurred lines between right and wrong, as well as the capacity of ordinary people to persevere and do unthinkable things in extraordinary circumstances. It is a novel that is more than just an historical retelling of two of the most oppressive reigns of terror in history. Instead, it is a story that captures the heart of humanity – its demonic side as well as its inexplicable capacity to fight for survival against all odds.

I loved this well written novel. The words captured my interest and held me enthralled. Keith made me feel the emotions of her characters: their pain, their suffering, their desires. She describes with empathy the choices they are faced with; and encourages us to understand the choices that they eventually make. The author does not hold back, and does not sugarcoat any of the events she describes in her story. She must have experienced some dark moments in the writing of this tale.

The Dutch Wife is an historical novel which I would highly recommend. There is a reason why it was listed as #1 on the Globe and Mail Bestseller list.

I gave this novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars on Goodreads. If I could, I would give it more stars!

Do you enjoy reading historical novels?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 30th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Grateful for Author Meet

Last week Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to attend an author meeting at the offices of Harper Collins Publishers Canada in Toronto. The authors were Joanna Goodman and Ellen Keith. Both are Canadian authors, and both had written an historical novel. It was interesting for me to hear them speak about their inspiration for their novel, and the journey they had taken to reach the point of publication. It was also fun being surrounded by other book lovers who had patiently waited to meet these two women writers.

Waiting for the author’s meet to begin. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This week I am grateful to Harper Collins Publishers in Canada for organizing the event. I am also grateful for the copies of the books they gave to me, as well as for the opportunity to have my copies signed by the authors.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018