Month of Canada for #Canada150 Wrap Up & Giveaway!

Whew! It has been a crazy month of ALL Canada this month! I am so happy to have brought you, my dear reader, so many wonderful book reviews, interviews, recommendations, and so much more all month!

To thank everyone who came to visit my blog during the past month, I thought I’d have a giveaway! I’m not gonna lie, but Simon & Schuster Canada made this easy for me after I won a giveaway for one of my favourite Canadian books this year. They sent it to me without telling me I won and even though I read the book and own the book, I was still so excited to see it when I ripped open the package!

I was super excited after reading K. A. Tucker’s Ten Tiny Lies to read her new book coming out this year that I had to drive out to the bookstore the day it was released and buy it! This was despite the fact that it was 50% online and not in-store, but honestly, her books are worth full price. This story was fantastic and just a feel good Cinderella-type story that I adored.

To enter, leave a MEANINGFUL COMMENT (Generic comments will not be counted!) on this post and let me know what your favourite post of this month was, why you love reading Canada, and what your favourite Canadian book this year has been. Be sure to leave your email address as well, so I can let you know if you win! I will choose a winner on August 15th. Giveaway rules apply. Open internationally!

In case you missed something, here’s the final wrap up of what happened on the blog this month:

My Intro Post To #MonthOfCanada

Canadian Book Lists & Interviews

Canadian Reading Challenge
My Top Canadian Graphic Novels!
Canadian Cover Capture: Books I’ve Added To My Reading List Because of Their Cover
Writing In Canada: Author Interview With Rebecca Phillips
My Top Canadian Children’s Books!
Indigenous Authors Spotlight!
Writing In Canada: Author Interview With Laura Langston
My Top Canadian Non-Fiction Reads!
Writing In Canada: Author Interview With Kelley Armstrong
My Top Canadian YA Reads!
Writing In Canada: Author Interview With Genevieve Graham

Canadian Book Reviews

All The Rage by Courtney Summers
The Art of Getting Stared At by Laura Langston
Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker
Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen (Audiobook)
Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1) by K. A. Tucker
Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings (Real Mermaids, #1) by Helene Boudreau (Audiobook)
99: Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky (Audiobook)
London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton
40 Things I Want To Tell You by Alice Kuipers
Tides of Honour by Genevieve Graham
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout (Audiobook)
Missing by Kelley Armstrong
Just Like Family by Kate Hilton
Undone by Katey Wolf
Any Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman (Audiobook)
Where Sea Meets Sky (Where Sea Meets Sky, #1) by Karina Halle (Audiobook)
In This Moment by Karma Brown
Saints And Misfits by S. K. Ali

2017 Canadian Book Release Spotlight Books

Little Heaven by Nick Cutter
The Lives of Desperate Girls by Mackenzie Common
Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker
Things To Do When It Rains by Marissa Stapley
Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin
In This Moment by Karma Brown
Promises To Keep by Genevieve Graham
The Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
Wild Card (North Ridge, #1) by Karina Halle
Rituals (Cainsville, #5) by Kelley Armstrong
Even The Darkest Stars (Even The Darkest Stars, #1) by Heather Fawcett
Be Ready For The Lightning by Grace O’Connell
Beast by Megan Crewe
Seven Days In May by Kim Izzo
Where I Live Now by Sharon Butala
The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby
Saints And Misfits by S. K. Ali
Me & Me by Alice Kuipers
The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook
Just Like Family by Kate Hilton
Mitzi Bytes by Kerry Clare
The Valiant (The Valiant, #1) by Lesley Livingston
Just Jen by Jen Powley
So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
These Things I’ve Done by Rebecca Phillips
Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson
Two Times a Traitor by Karen Bass

Bookish Canadians To Follow (Shared on Twitter – ignore the formatting, WordPress didn’t want to cooperate with me!):

On Twitter, I shared a whopping ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR bookish Canadians! From readers to bloggers to writers to publishers, there were SO MANY that I just had to share! If I had planned properly, I probably could’ve made it to 150!

Find all of the wonderful bookish Canadians I want YOU to follow by following this link! 

On top of all of these posts, I loved interacting with so many Canadian readers and authors, sharing other bloggers’, publishers’, and authors’ love for all things Canada, and reading tons of books authored by amazing Canadian authors! 150 is seriously a big deal and I’m so happy to have gotten to share everything I could about this amazing country.

What was your favourite post of the month? Did you pick up any new books by Canadian authors this month? What was your favourite Canadian book you read this month? 

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2017 🇨🇦 Canadian Book Release Spotlight: Two Times a Traitor by Karen Bass

This month I will be featuring new releases from Canadian authors! From indie authors to well-known authors, I want to share with you the books I’m most excited for this year — I hope you’ll add some of them to your own wishlist and TBR! 

Two Times a Traitor by Karen Bass

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Pajama Press | August 21, 2017

Angry over his family’s recent move and current enforced holiday in Halifax, twelve-year-old Laz Berenger rebels against a guided tour of the Citadel and sets out to explore on his own. In one dark tunnel, his St. Christopher’s medal burns suddenly hot. There’s a strange smell, and Laz blacks out. When he wakes up, everything happens at once. A sword is put to his throat. Men who look like extras from Pirates of the Caribbean hand him over to a ship’s captain who strips him and takes his medal. He is declared a French spy. Laz realizes, to his horror, that it is 1745 and he is trapped in time. These English colonists, still loyal to King George, are at war with the French. To earn his freedom, Laz must promise to spy on the French at the fortification of Louisbourg. But once in Louisbourg, Laz earns a job as runner to the kind Commander Morpain and learns to love both the man and the town. How will Laz find a way to betray the inhabitants of Louisbourg? How else can he hope to earn back his St. Christopher’s medal, which is surely his key to returning to his own time? The award-winning author of The Hill and Graffiti Knight has written an enthralling, swash-buckling time-slip adventure for middle-grade readers centered on a fascinating period in North American history.

I’ve known of Karen Bass for some time now and actually have one of her books on my shelf that I still need to read. A friend of mine had mentioned on Twitter about going to her book release so I checked out the book on Goodreads and oh my gosh! Time travel! I loooooove time travel books so I will definitely be checking this one out – it looks like so much fun!

What Canadian book are you waiting for? 

[Writing in 🇨🇦 Canada] Author Interview with Genevieve Graham

A while back, probably a year or so ago, I had been talking with my friend Ambur about an author friend of hers who was looking for some promotion within Canada. I was eager to read her book, but the format of the book meant I could only read it on my iPad and I absolutely hate reading anything on my iPad, so I apologized and said I probably couldn’t commit. Fast-forward to the last few months, I had been shopping and saw this author’s book on the shelf and so I bought it, hoping to read it for my Month of Canada – it didn’t even clue in to me that this was the author I had been talking to Ambur about until I contacted her about a spiel about reading in Canada and saw our previous conversation in the messages – and lo and behold, the author I couldn’t read was Genevieve Graham!

Now I’m so happy that I have two of her books – I’ve read one and LOVED it, and I want to read everything she’s written now! The best part is that she writes one of my favourite genre, historical fiction, AND it’s Canadian historical fiction. I love getting a glimpse into Canadian history with these sweeping tales.

 

I had been chatting with Genevieve off and on on Twitter prior to asking her to do this interview, and she’s so fun and so friendly! So, without further adieu, meet Genevieve Graham!

1. It’s Canada’s 150th! Is there a special way you like to celebrate Canada?

I celebrate wherever I am on Canada Day. I grew up in Toronto, moved to Calgary for seventeen years, then moved to small town Nova Scotia, so I’ve seen all different kinds of Canada Days. Lately I’ve enjoyed lazily driving around our little Eastern Shore village, appreciating the community spirit and the history of our area. Also food. It’s kind of a tradition for my family to pig out on fresh donuts at Memory Lane Heritage Park, free cookies at Fisherman’s Life Museum, mussels at the Yacht Club, then ice cream right in the middle of town. Sometimes we feast on freshly caught lobster for dinner, and if the bugs aren’t too bad you might catch us out by the fire, making the perfect s’mores. I’m not usually a crowd kind of person, but this year I think we’ll be heading in to Halifax to take part in the events. There’s just so much going on, and so much to celebrate!

2. I see that you live in Nova Scotia, which is one of the most beautiful places in the country, in my opinion. Do you have a favourite place in Canada, or maybe one you long to visit?

I do love Nova Scotia and its understated beauty. There’s so much variety in this province depending on what spot you choose to visit that day. My favourite season out here is autumn, because well, seriously, you’ll never see colours like we have here. Especially if you drive up to Cape Breton, where you’ll wind through steep roads, and breathe in fresh mountain air while you admire the mirror reflection of the autumn leaves on the deep canvas of the Atlantic. That is an incredible journey, and the culture you discover along the way is almost as rich as the drive. But you asked about my favourite place in Canada, and I’m going to take you back across the country for that, because I have a deep love for the mountains of Alberta and BC. My husband and I met in a chairlift line-up at Sunshine Village (Alberta), and he proposed to me at Emerald Lake Lodge (BC) on a silent, almost ethereal winter night. We raised our two daughters on those mountains so they were skiing from the age of three, just like we had as kids. I do miss Calgary and Banff, and I’m really excited to be travelling there for a week in August, both to visit my Mom and to do research for my next project.

3. Why do you think it’s important for people to read Canada? Who are some of your favourite Canadian authors?

It’s important for people to read Canada because I think it’s important for people to realize who we are! We are the quiet, apologetic neighbour of the life of the party, and it’s time for folks to get to know the amazing personality behind the smile. We are welcoming, we are proud, we are generous, and we are beautiful. And there’s something up here that feeds the souls of artists. Something really special. The talent up here is incredible, though once again it’s under appreciated. I don’t read a lot these days (I find other authors’ writing interferes with my own writing process so I only indulge after I’ve completely finished writing and editing my latest book), but for Canadian authors my #1 recommendation is always Susanna Kearsley and her gorgeous time-slip novels. Here in Nova Scotia I love the work of my friend, the humble and gifted Lesley Crewe. She has a knack for weaving the Cape Breton people right into the fibre of a story.

4. Why did you become a writer? What (or who) inspired you to do what you do?

I began writing in 2007 just for fun. For years I hadn’t done much for myself because I was focused on my full-time job of being a stay-at-home mom, Then my Mom gave me a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, and I was lost. I read all her books then read everything else I could find of that epic kind of historical fiction (Sara Donati, Penelope Williamson, Paullina Simons, Wilbur Smith) then I went back to Gabaldon and read the series (including audiobooks) seven times. Seven times! Well, after that I decided to see if I could ever write anything. I told my husband I was going to go try to write, and hours later I came back upstairs with pages and pages of historical fiction based in 18th century Scotland. I had no idea what I was doing, but he said, “You know, that’s not bad.” That’s all I needed. Ever since then I’ve been glued to the keyboard. I absolutely love what I do, and I feel incredibly fortunate.

5. Your books are sweeping historicals with so many elements to them, from romance to war to family, etc. What challenges do you face when it comes to writing historical fiction? Have you always had an interest in history?

The honest truth is that I hated history as a kid. To me it was names and dates and places to be memorized for exams, nothing more. I found museums interesting, but I never felt compelled to visit them, never felt connected to them. Everything changed for me after I caught the Historical Fiction bug. When we first moved to Nova Scotia in 2008, my first stop was not the beach (where I would assume most people go to celebrate) but the Halifax Citadel Historic Site. Everything about its cold stone walls captivated me. I could practically see the soldiers shrugging into their coats, preparing for the day. Nova Scotia history, I realized, was awesome … but I had a problem: I knew very little about it. In order for me to learn about history, I needed to put myself inside the story, and that meant I had to bring in my characters to do the work for me. The thing about characters is that they don’t really care about history, but they live it. Everything they experience is a lesson for me. Of course I research carefully, but when it comes to the characters’ experiences, they belong to them. Sometimes in historical fiction an author will talk about facts to the point that the history no longer belongs to the character. For example, after the Halifax Explosion (in Tides of Honour), we now know the city was covered in sixteen inches of fresh snow the day after the city blew up. Well, my characters didn’t know that. They knew it had snowed a ton, that it was cold, and everything was more complicated than ever. The Acadian Expulsion (in Promises to Keep) saw over 10,000 Acadians ripped from their homes and dumped on dilapidated, rented ships before being shipped out to random ports, but all Amélie knew was that her family was divided, their home was lost, and nothing would ever be the same. I guess the challenge with writing Historical Fiction is knowing a lot then making sure you don’t tell too much. I don’t find it that difficult to do, because my characters are very outspoken in my head. They tell me what they say and do, and it’s my job to give them the setting and background.

When I write Canadian History, I am bringing it back to life for people who don’t know and don’t care about our past. The more I learn the more I know we can’t afford to forget the past. Canada was a land of adventure and survival, of love and passion, of growth and innovation. Authors all over Europe and the United States celebrate their histories, and the world eats those stories up. It’s about time we served them a good helping of the Great White North, don’t you think?

6. What is the writing atmosphere like when you write — do you prefer silence, or do you listen to music?

I need silence to write – then again, sometimes silence just descends when don’t plan it. In the summer I like to sit in my “outside office” (our gazebo), and while I’m in there I’m accompanied by the scratching and cooing from our small flock of chickens. It’s soothing, but even that can distract me because I need to go see which ones are out there (though I already know most of their voices without looking) and talk to them. But when a strong, important scene comes to me, the rest of the world disappears.

7. What are you reading right now? Any favourite authors you might like to mention?

I don’t read a lot of fiction when I’m writing because I find the voices of other authors influence my own voice. I love historical fiction (I have no objection to reading the Outlander series for the eighth or ninth time) but I don’t want any of those scenes to be put there by anyone but my own characters. I usually pick up one of the books from my wobbling t.b.r. pile when I’m done a book, but that doesn’t last long because I always have a new story bubbling in my head that needs writing.

8. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do with your time?

I’m a hermit, so my favourite things to do are quiet and spent with my family. I do read when I get a chance, and if I can do it in the sunshine surrounded by chickens I’m entirely happy. My husband and I are also binge watchers of far too many series. This year we will officially become empty nesters, so I see travel in our future. Somewhere exotic, like maybe Vietnam.

9. What has been the most challenging part about writing and publishing? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Learning to write, for me, was a joy. The process of writing is like meditation for me. Research is fascinating when you follow the right thread. For me the nightmare came when I had to look for a literary agent. A good literary agent is the key to a good contract, though writing a good book is the key to getting follow-up contracts.

There are three things I recommend to aspiring writers.
Step One: WRITE. Don’t bother editing until later (advice I find hard to follow with my own work), and write for yourself, no one else. If you don’t have anything interesting to write about that day, just write a little about how bored you are, your favourite food and why—anything to keep those synapses snapping.
Step Two: LISTEN. Let the characters lead you, and try not to argue with them. When you think you’re done, find a beta reader who will tell you how it really is. Listen to their suggestions, take them with a grain of salt, and don’t take it personally.
Step Three: GO BACK to Step One.

10. Can you share any details on what you’re working on next? Any exciting projects in the works?

I always have projects in the works. Actually, right now I have three or four. The first (working on final edits now) will be out next spring, and it’s the companion novel to Tides of Honour. We’re back to Danny and Audrey on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, but twenty years later, so during World War II. Right now I’m starting work on one that I think will be the biggest of my novels, set during the Klondike Gold Rush. What a time in our history. I’m loving the research, and I can’t wait to share more Canadian History with readers!

Connect With Genevieve: 
Twitter | Web | Goodreads

Thank you so much to Genevieve for being on the blog today. And being from Alberta, I look forward to her next book – the Klondike Gold Rush? Sounds great! Have you read any of Genevieve’s books? Which one is your favourite?