6 YA Books to Read This Fall

Fall is just around the corner, and with a new season comes more great new read to cozy up with. Over the past few months, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to attend a couple of fall previews. So for those of you who are looking to add even more books to your TBR pile you’re in luck, because I’ve got some recommendations to share with you guys.

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhha Lai (September 3, 2019)

This one is high on my reading list as there still aren’t many #ownvoices novels featuring Vietnamese protagonists. It follows a girl named Hằng who finally makes it to the US and is looking to reunite with her brother, Linh. Along for the ride is her new friend, LeeRoy who dreams of being a cowboy. Of all the titles presented at Frenzy Presents, this is story of unlikely friendship, road trips, displacement and family is probably my most anticipated read.

 

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (September 3, 2019)

At the Frenzy Presents event, the one word that was used to describe this book was “filthy”. Other than that, the concept of a forbidden romance between a witch and a witch hunter has me intrigued. This is the one title that has been compared to the Sarah J. Maas books and it is also perfect if you liked dark fantasy series like Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch.

 

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool (September 3, 2019)

This book was my YA Horoscopes match for the TeensRead Fall 2019 Preview. Compared to Six of Crows, this book promises to turn the trope of the Chosen One on its head. Fair warning though, this book is far bleaker than Six of Crows. If you want to know more about my thoughts on this book, be sure to come by the blog next week for my blog stop and review for this title.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon (September 10, 2019)

The name David Yoon may ring a bell because of his wife, Nicola Yoon who is a best-selling YA author and whose books have both been turned into major movies. However, with his debut novel he proves that he’s also a gifted writer. In fact, Frankly in Love is currently on my list of top reads of 2019! Highly recommend this well-written and touching story about first love, family and being the kid of immigrant parents.

Unpregnant by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan (September 10, 2019)

Another book that I was fortunate enough to read early. This one is about a teen in Missouri who is forced to take a road trip with her ex best friend when she discovers she’s pregnant and needs to get an abortion. This one is being marketed as “Thelma and Louise but…with a happy ending” and I agree. If you’re a fan of the movie Juno you may like this one. Also like Juno, Unpregnant is set to become a movie produced by Greg Berlanti and Sarah and directed by Rachel Lee Goldenberg who worked on The Mindy Project. A timely read, I really enjoyed this one and am looking forward to seeing how the book gets translated to the big screen! 

Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance by Jennieke Cohen (December 3, 2019)

I love a good historical mystery and even better if there a good romance subplot! This one was pitched to us as a “Victorian Tinder”, which has piqued my interest. For fans of My Lady Jane and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I think Dangerous Alliance may end up on my reading list solely on the basis the that the heroine is not only a badass but also a major Jane Austen fan looking for her own “Pride and Prejudice” type of love.

 

A Q & A with Roselle Lim

I was fortunate enough to read Roselle Lim’s début novel, Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune a few months before its release date. In case you haven’t already done so, please check out my review of the book here.

Anyway, when I was asked by Penguin Random House Canada (the publisher) if I was interested in doing an author interview, I jumped at the opportunity to feature an Asian and local author on my blog! Keeping with the theme of luck, I decided to keep it to just eight questions since eight is a lucky number in Chinese astrology. So without further delay, here is a Q&A post with Roselle. Enjoy!

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1. Firstly, if you were to describe Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune using only 3-8 emojis, what would they be?

2. Natalie’s story begins with her return to her old Chinatown neighbourhood, have you ever been to San Francisco’s Chinatown? If so, what are your suggestions on what to see and do?

I visited San Francisco’s Chinatown once as a child, but I’ve been to many Chinatowns in Canada, US, and Asia. In fact, I grew up in Manila’s Chinatown! If possible, ask the locals where they get dumplings. Food is the best way to introduce yourself to the culture and area.

After you’ve eaten, go to the paifang and begin exploring the shops, walking everywhere. Go slow. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells.

3. There is an obvious magical realism element in Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune. What was your favourite Chinese ghost story and/or superstition growing up, and has adulthood changed the way you see it now?

Don’t sleep with exposed feet facing a window; otherwise, a ghost or spirit will yank you by the toes and eat you! My mother also convinced me to jump up and down to grow taller. I look back on these superstitions with mirth and a sense of wonder. Still, I only sleep with my feet facing a wall.

4. Family especially the mother-daughter relationship in addition to the family that you choose is a major theme in your book, did you draw upon any of your own relationships in real life for inspiration when writing these characters?

As much as I’d like to say that these characters are family members in disguise, they aren’t. Family is complicated. Often times, I write about relationships I wish I had. The book’s characters embody people I have met and are bits and pieces of strangers I’ve spoken with. Celia and the others embody the community in north Scarborough I called home.

5. Food is of course central to Natalie Tan’s story, how did you decide which recipes to include in the book? And which ones are your favourites?

The recipes are my father’s and they are my childhood favourites. I love food and knew it had to be an invisible, yet palpable, secondary character in the novel. I remembered how I felt eating them. Those feelings dictated which recipe to use in each scene.

While, I love them all, I have a soft spot for the fresh spring rolls. It was such a comfort food growing up.

6. As a fellow foodie and as someone who used to live in Toronto, I’ve also got to ask what are your go to recommendations for must try food places in and around the City?

Oh my goodness, where do I even begin?

  • Fishman’s Clubhouse for their epic tower of king crab and lobster.
  • Saigon Star in Markham for curry crab.
  • Izakaya Guu downtown for delicious Japanese bar food.
  • Casa Manila for excellent Filipino food midtown.
  • Cafe Demetres for dessert and delicious crepes.
  • Destiny Tea House for bubble tea and tasty Taiwanese snacks.
7. Music also has a major role in the story, and I love that your book has its own playlist. Were these the songs that you listened to while working on the book or were they just the music that inspired Natalie’s story?

Most are songs I listened to while working. Classical music establishes mood, tempo, and atmosphere, while operas provide emotion. The overall feel of the playlist is to convey a soft sense of romance. It isn’t a jubilant declaration so much as a wish—a hope to experience love as Natalie sees it. Teresa Teng, however, is a relic from my childhood as she was my parent’s favourite singer.

8. And finally, can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on at the moment or any upcoming projects?

Book Two is set in Paris and it involves Evelyn Yu, the fortuneteller in Natalie Tan. I’m working on revisions and hope to be done soon.

Fall Books Preview 2017

Fall marks the return of school, and the return of people coming back to work from their summer vacation. But book lovers may also know it as the prime “book season”, when many great releases are out, serval literary festivals are happening and the major book awards are given. This month I had the opportunity to attend two different fall book previews each with amazing author guests, and  so instead of doing a full event recap for each event I thought I’d highlight a few of the titles from both that I’m looking forward to.

Penguin Random House

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (Out Now)

This one is one that I’ve actually read before the preview. It’s about a young woman who as an intern has an affair with her married, a congressman. Told from various points of views including the woman, her mother and the congressman’s wife this book unexpectedly became one of my favourites for it’s incredibly female empowering message. A review of this book will be up on the blog some time next week.

Smitten Kitchen: Every Day Triumphant & Unfussy New Favourites by Deb Perelman (October 24, 2017)

I don’t often cook or bake, but when I do I tend to visit food blogs for inspiration. I stumbled upon the Smitten Kitchen blog last year when I was looking for recipes for my Christmas cookie swap with my friends. I love the simplistic blog layout, gorgeous photos and the easy to follow recipes. It’s been more than four years since the last Smitten Kitchen book and based on the previews, this one promises the usual drool worthy food photos and family friendly, accessible recipes. For those of you interested, Deb Perelman will be coming to Canada for a signing at Chapters Bayview on October 26!

Unqualified by Anna Faris (October 24, 2017)

This one is rather interesting seeing as Anna Faris and her husband, Chris Pratt have just announced that they’re separating. Chris is still confirmed to be doing the foreword to the book as announced earlier. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but after reading an excerpt of her book where she talks about how its importance of friendships especially female friendships outside of your romantic relationships, I found her writing to be relatable and interesting so I’ll definitely be picking this one up. Unqualified has been suggested as being a must read if you’re a fan of Faris’ podcast or even if you enjoy funny, female memoirs.

Christmas at the Vinyl Cafe by Stuart McLean (October 31, 2017)

I grew up with CBC radio, and Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe show was one of the staples of my Canadian childhood. Sadly with his passing earlier this year, 2017 will be the first year without a Vinyl Cafe Christmas special. This collection includes some previously recorded stories as well as some new ones, so I’m definitely excited for it as it would make for some perfect Christmas reading.

The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce (November 7, 2017)

I adored Rachel Joyce’s The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy and after hearing abut The Music Shop, I’m eagerly anticipating this one as well. Inspired by a real life event, and taking place in the 1980s and featuring a record store where the owner has a “gift” for finding music that people need at a certain point in their life. Described as quirky and heartwarming and recommended for fans of Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid Plans this one is definitely on my must read list this fall. (I managed to get an ARC of this one, so stay tuned for my review of it on the blog)

HarperCollins (YA)

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Out Now)

I haven’t read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout yet, but the tagline for this book “how can you move on if tomorrow isn’t guaranteed” has me intrigued. Also I looked up the synopsis of this one online and it sounds like it would be an interesting contemporary YA novel with the added bonus of a swoon-worthy book boyfriend! This one was recommended for fans of All the Bright Places as well as 99 Days.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake (September 19th)

I quite enjoyed Three Dark Crowns and am looking forward to more action in the sequel! This series is about a set of triplets who must fight to the death in order to become the next queen! Recommended for fans of complex, and messy sibling relationships and readers who love the fantasy genre.

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West (December 26th)

So this one was my most anticipated titles out all the ones that were presented! I love a good contemporary YA novel and am a huge fan of the friends to lovers trope. Plus I love reading books were characters have their own bucket lists and are trying to check things off their list. This is mostly because I’ve always wanted to make a bucket list but could never really commit to doing one so its fun for me to live vicariously through others even book characters.

So what are you guys looking forward to this fall? Let me know in the comments below!