Thoughts on my blogging (LONG)

This post is going to be a bit of a jumbled mess, so bear with me while I attempt to put the feelings in my brain into words.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and my place in the blogging world lately. I wrote a little thread about it on my Twitter, if you want to see the gist of it, but I decided that maybe it would be good for me to write out all of my thoughts and feelings on the subject. Maybe it will make me feel better, or at least help me finally come to a decision?

First, a little history.

I have been a reader for pretty much my whole life, thanks to my Mom, but I only started getting into writing when I was in the seventh grade. My main focus was creative writing, specifically fictional stories. I had a short story of mine published in an anthology in the eleventh grade (junior year), I was in a creative writing group for my last two years of high school, and took a creative writing class during the twelfth grade (senior year).

After I graduated high school, an opportunity came up to write blog posts for a popular student life website. Blogging was something I’d always thought about, but didn’t think I was interesting enough for. In this case, however, I was going to be a freshman in university, so I figured that it would give me plenty of material. I ended up writing for these guys for about a year and a half, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, most of the time.

About a month after I started blogging with them, I found out about booklr, a community of book lovers on Tumblr. I made my own booklr, under a different name. Eventually I came up with beccathelitwitch, and have carried that name forward with me ever since. Booklr started out being cool; there were a lot of gorgeous photos to share, lots of friendly people to talk books with, and lots of new books to learn about. Seriously, I don’t think my TBR pile would be this big if it weren’t for the booklr community. I also met one of my good friends, Kat, on there.

I dove right in, following all the popular blogs and entering giveaways and having my blog rated by the popular bloggers so I could gain some followers of my own. This is also where I started trying my hand at book photography. The following photos are a comparison of the first photo I posted on booklr, and the last one I posted to my bookstagram:

Okay, so I am the first to admit that I’m still not very good at photography, but at the very least I am a lot better at it than I used to be.

I started doing book reviews in the following January, and that was basically what my booklr was: 70% reblogged posts, 30% my own photos and posts. Honestly, it was a good time waster and a fun way to learn about new books. But I was just starting university, so while I wanted to do more of my own posts, do more for my blog, I had to prioritize school. I’ll admit that I craved to be as popular as the other blogs, to have publishers send me books, to have affiliate links, etc. But now I understand that that level of popularity took a lot of time, patience, and hard work, and while I like to think that I have the effort in me, the truth is that I have never had the time or patience for it.

I made this blog about a year and a half after, around the same time that I stopped writing for the student life website. Tumblr was ultimately more about photos, and photos were definitely not my strong suit, so I thought that I’d try my hand at a platform that focused more on writing – which I’ve been doing for many years now. (I also had a brief stint as a booktuber, but we’re not going to talk about that failure – LOL.)

Fast forward a year and here we are. I started out with a regular posting schedule, with meme posts and tags and reviews scheduled for specific days, and I was really excited about it. But, once again, school took all of my focus and time, and now I’m at the point where I’m lucky if I manage to post twice a week.

Okay, that’s great Becca, but get to the good stuff. Tell us how you really feel.

As I said before I went on that historical tangent, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should continue book blogging. There are, of course, a million and one reasons why I think I shouldn’t.

No. 1: Time

You’ve seen me complain A LOT about how I don’t have the time to work on this blog, and I often don’t even make the time to read – how am I supposed to run a book blog when I don’t even read? I am a full time university student, trying to get a high GPA so that I can get into a good grad school program. I also work part-time, have quite a few familial obligations, a social life to upkeep, and enjoy my sleep. And, yeah, maybe I spend a little too long online window-shopping and watching YouTube. Blogs need time for creating posts and writing them, time to promote yourself across multiple platforms and get traffic to the blog itself. Can I even make that kind of time?

No. 2: Mediocrity

Because I don’t spend a lot of time on my blog, my skills are mediocre at best. And being mediocre in a sea of stand-out bloggers doing important and cool things is really disheartening. It’s kind of like “what’s the point of me continuing with my mediocrity when I can’t compete with everyone else?” (I mean, the fact that I am trying to compete may also be a sign that I really shouldn’t be blogging. It may also be a problem that is deeply rooted in a childhood of being told I’m exceptional and a young-adulthood of being told that I’m actually just average. But that’s a tale for another time.)

In addition, I’m really bad at being a critical reader, though I want to get better, and in the current political climate being a critical reader is more important than ever. I’m not bringing anything new or exciting to the table, I’m not opening people’s eyes to new ideas and problems and solutions, like a lot of wonderful bloggers are. Again, my current thought process is that if I’m not doing anything that makes people think, then why am I doing this?

No. 3: Focus

I have always considered myself a “jack of all trades and a master at none”, and this is probably the best cliche description of me that exists. I love to try new and different things, but that also makes focussing on one thing to “master” really hard. I’ve done seven different sports, half-learned to play the guitar, sing, and know a basic amount of French – heck, even the degrees I plan to graduate with cover three different disciplines (if you’re curious: science, arts, and humanities).

I want to learn how to cook and how to speak different languages. I want to be able to feed people good meals that don’t involve copious amounts of icing and butter (though there’s absolutely no problem with that), and be able to speak to people so that I can learn more than I ever could in just English. I also want to write so many novels, to publish my beloved characters and make people happy with my books. Focusing on blogging is really difficult for me because I just want to do so many other things on top of it!

No. 4: The Future

This one is pretty selfish, but I’m at the point in my life where I really need to start thinking about where I’m going, career wise. Is having a mediocre blog going to help me with my future job? Is this really where I should be putting my time and energy? If I drop this hobby, will that help or hurt me?

Okay okay, but then why are you still doing this?

No. 1: I like it

Yeah, okay, so I’m really not good at anything book-related, except maybe fictional writing, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it. I started this blog because I enjoyed discussing books so much on other platforms, and writing was the medium I was the most comfortable with. I like doing tags and writing reviews, reading books and getting excited about them with people. The community is, most of the time, really great, especially since a lot of authors participate in these conversations on social media. As someone who’s not part of many clubs or communities in real life, this one means a lot to me.

No. 2: I’m stubborn

I’m a competitive and driven person, generally speaking, and I don’t particularly enjoy quitting hobbies, especially since without them I’m b o r i n g.

No. 3: ARCs

(I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be telling you all this or not, but if it turns out it’s a bad idea, gently let me know and I can edit)

To clarify: I requested a lot of ARCs, thinking that there was no way that I would actually be accepted for every single one of them (hello, mediocrity). Lo and behold, I had like seven different ARCs sitting on my shelf, and zero time to read them. If I do decide to stop blogging, it will be after I write the reviews for the remaining books, because while I am a slow reader, I am also a person who likes to complete her obligations and promises before moving on to the next thing. It’s the least I can do for being granted the advanced copies.


And so, here we are, over 1,700 words later. I had actually planned to say more, but I’m going to force myself to stop here, for everyone’s sake. And yet there is still a question hanging above my head: should I stay or should I go? Should I put my energy elsewhere, or should I continue in my average-ness?

If you have any thoughts, I welcome you to leave them in the comments down below. I’m happy to receive any and all input, if it helps me come to a decision.

If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you. I barely made it this far.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day/night, wherever you are. Thanks for reading!

~Becca

Plans Plans Plans

Good morning friends! I hope your weekend went well, and that you treat yourself on this marvelous Halloween day!

So I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, particularly about this blog and my bookish presence in general. I absolutely love book blogging, love sharing my thoughts about books and doing bookish tags and maybe helping people discover new books. Blogging is really the only kind of non-academic writing that I do anymore, too, and in a way it helps ground me.

As of late, however, I haven’t been super satisfied with my content, both here and on my Instagram. And, you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been reading like I used to. Right now I’m averaging a book a month, and I just dropped my Goodreads goal to 30 because I likely will not be able to reach 35 by the end of the year if I continue at this rate.

As far as I see it, these problems are due to my lack of time (although maybe I’m also just not that creative, too, but shhhh). I am currently in my third year of university, taking four classes that are demanding; between weekly lab reports, quizzes, readings, and – more recently – midterms, it takes a lot of my time and attention. Seriously, I have been studying for a week straight and I’m super tired of it. On top of that I have a part-time job, and family, friends, and a boyfriend who want to spend time with me. Plus, I like to get at least 7 hours of sleep.

Maybe my time management isn’t the best, but right now that whole “you have to make time to read!!!” thing isn’t working out for me, and I haven’t been able to plan out and really think about my posts.

So, after sobbing to my mom about how unprepared I am for my midterm in 2 hours, and with everything else listed above in mind, I have decided to go on a month-long hiatus.

There are three things that I hope to achieve during this break:

  1. Focus on school. I just had my midterms, and I didn’t do as well on them as I want to do. I am spending way too much on university to not get what I want from it, so I want to prioritize my education.
  2. Work on my content. Look, I’m clearly a n00b when it comes to book blogging; I have done the blogging thing before, but not this specific kind of blogging. I want to make good content, both for myself and for my readers. I have a lot to learn, so during this break I want to do some research and planning for my blog. It may be completely revamped by the time I return. We’ll see!
  3. Read more. This one is pretty self explanatory. It’ll be good to build up my review bank so I’ll have new reviews to post, and not just the transfers from my booklr.

When will it end, I hope you ask? Well, I still plan to do the School’s Out Readathon 2.0 starting on Sunday, December 11th, so that will likely be my first post after my hiatus! If you’d like to keep up with me in the meantime, you can follow my Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads, although odds are that I will be updating them less often, too.

Thank you all for reading this and my other posts, and for being supportive of this silly little hobby of mine. I hope you’ll stick around for when I make my triumphant (maybe not but you never know) return to the book-blogging world in December.

I wish you all a wonderful Fall/Autumn, and I’ll talk to you all again soon.

~Becca ❤

The Lady is a Champ Event

Yesterday, October 23rd, I attended the Lady  is a Champ event, hosted by Indigo. Learning from my last event, I left an hour early so that I could get a good seat and wouldn’t haven’t to wait in line for too long.

I arrived at the event 15 minutes before it was supposed to start, and this Chapters was PACKED. Not only were all the seats filled when I got there, but the standing line snaked around a bunch of displays before ending in the Young Readers section.

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I took this photo after the signing had started, but this is where I stood for the duration of the panel.

The panel itself started right on time, with Vikki VanSickle (publishing professional from Penguin Canada) playing host. First she introduced all the members of the panel with funny reviews of their books. The panel included:

  • Catherine Egan, author of Julia Vanishes and lots more
  • Kiersten White, author of And I Darken and lots more
  • Marie Lu, author of The Midnight Star, a lot more, and was the author most people were here to see.
  • Morgan Rhodes, author of The Darkest Magic, and a lot more

There was an overall theme to this event, if you can’t tell: all of these authors were discussing their books that contain female protagonists that don’t necessarily fit the category of “good”. Morally grey characters can be found throughout all of their books.

After introducing them, Vikki began with some simple questions, including (but not limited to) the following (paraphrased answers since I had to write down their ideas in point form):

Q: What do you like about writing villains?

  • Lu: They get to do what they want without needing a good reason to; it’s refreshing
  • White: Throwing away the idea of likability and focussing on the journey
  • Egan: You get to put all the nasty parts of your life into a character, which is fun to write
  • Rhodes: Villains think they’re the heroes, it’s just a matter of the choices they make. (She also found herself intrigued by the fact that she likes Warner from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, despite the fact that he hadn’t done anything particularly good)

Q: Is it easier or more fun to write villains?

  • Lu: Adelina fought me every step of the way
  • White: I had to fight every impulse to soften certain characters, to make them likeable and instead make it so they don’t care
  • Egan: Villains are easier to write – in fact, scenes with villains came rushing out faster than those without
  • Rhodes: The nicer a character is, the harder they are to write. I get bored with good characters always making the right decisions, so I have to horribly injure them.

Q: Is there a genre or age-group or topic that you would have a hard-time writing?

  • Lu: Contemporaries (I also *think* I heard her say “straight romances”, too, but I’m not 100% sure because right at that moment the girls beside me started laughing really loudly)
  • White: I can’t do contemporaries, I need a higher concept (than real life) to work with
  • Egan: I love to read Historical Fiction, but I can’t write it – I’d be too worried about getting everything wrong!
  • Rhodes: I tried pitching a middle grade story, but my editor didn’t like it. I enjoy writing romance too much.

After that, members of the audience asked the questions they were dying to have answered, which included (but were not limited to):

Q: Where do you get your inspiration?

  • Lu: I travel with a notebook and write down people’s quirks or interesting things I come across; I also really like videogames (The Young Elites was inspired, partially, by Assassin’s Creed)
  • White: Travel
  • Egan: Reading, conversations, going places
  • Rhodes: Wine and chocolate! Also reading, magazines, watching TV – it’s called filling the well

Q: Specifically for Marie Lu – do you plant to write about life after Legend?

  • Lu: I have no official plans so far, but never say never! I do, however, have a book called Warcross coming out next fall that’s inspired by the world building in Champion.

Q: What did you want to do before you became a writer?

  • Lu: I wanted to be a fighter pilot when I was 9, but my mom said they wouldn’t let me in because I had bad vision. I also wanted to make videogames.
  • White: I’ve wanted to be a writer and a mom since I was a kid – I should’ve said that I wanted to be a member of the X-Men!
  • Egan: I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life, but I have done other jobs that go along well with writing, like teaching and waitressing.
  • Rhodes: When I was kid a wanted to be, in order: a jewel thief, a private investigator, and a movie star. I was a graphic designer for 10 years, but quit that to become a writer.

After the hour-long Q&A, it was time for the signing. I waited in line for nearly two hours, but around 4:50PM I finally got to go up. First I got my copy of And I Darken signed by Kiersten White!

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Kiersten was so nice, and she really liked my CUTE AF shirt!

After that I met Morgan Rhodes for the second time, and she remembered my name!

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A wonderful lady with such an awesome personality!

I was just telling her about how I skipped studying for midterms to come to this event when she held up the sticky note with “Rebecca” on it and said “Rebecca? What the crap is this?” I’d completely forgotten that the last time I met her I’d introduced myself as Becca, and online I refer to myself as Becca. Woops! Anyway, she signed my books (she remembered my social media name, Becca the Lit Witch, too!) and took a selfie with me, which made me incredibly happy.

And that was pretty much it! Although the line was long, it was another wonderful YA panel, and once again has inspired me to write and write and write.

A huge thank you to Indigo for hosting the event, and thank you to all the lovely writers who came to be part of the panel. I hope to see them all again soon!

Until Wednesday, friends!

~Becca

What I Learned at my First YA Panel Event

On Saturday, August 27th, Chapters held a YA Panel featuring Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen), Leah Bobet (An Inheritance of Ashes, Above), Ryan Graudin (Wolf by Wolf, The Walled City), E. K. Johnston (Exit, Pursued by a Bear, A Thousand Nights), and Lindsay Smith (Sekret/Skandal, Dreamstrider).

But first, I went to a team building event for work, where I finished the scavenger hunt first but ultimately lost because my partner had given me the wrong symbol, and where I was too competitive in a quiz game and ended up losing in a tie-breaker.

But that’s now what you’re here for. You’re here for the YA Panel, right? I hope so.

I was running behind schedule, and though I showed up just as the authors were taking their seats, all of the chairs had been claimed.

Note to Self #1: Come earlier next time.

With my copy of The Star-Touched Queen gripped in my left hand, I grabbed a copy of Exit, Pursued by a Bear (which I’d recently borrowed from the library and loved) with my right, and bought it while the guests introduced their books. The Chapters staff were super friendly and helpful, which is always awesome!

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(Left to Right: Roshani Chokshi, Leah Bobet, Ryan Graudin, E. K. Johnston, Lindsay Smith) (Photo Credit: Chapters Brampton on Twitter)

I stood at the back with my books and other late-comers. I saw some bloggers I’ve spoken to online sitting near the front – Giselle of BookNerd Canada and Sarena and Sasha of The Writing Duo – but never got the chance to say hi, though I wish I had.

E. K. Johnston was pretty much the master of ceremonies, because not only did she do a lot of the introductions, but she’s also the one who invited the other authors up for a writing retreat (which I enviously caught glimpses of on Chokshi’s Instagram). They started by talking about their books, upcoming projects, etc. And then Johnston announced that it was time for the audience to ask their questions.

For 5 full, awkward seconds, nobody raised their hands.

Note to Self #2: Come prepared with questions next time.

Slowly, but surely, people began asking questions. I don’t quite remember all of the questions and answers (thanks to my poor memory), but I’ll try my best!

“What is your writing process?”

  • Smith: outlines
  • Johnston: binge writing
  • Graudin: screen staring
  • Bobet: it changes
  • Chokshi: visuals/Pinterest

“What are your Harry Potter houses?”

  • Smith: Slytherin
  • Johnston: Hufflepuff, possibly Slytherin
  • Graudin: “Gryffinpuff”
  • Bobet: Ravenclaw
  • Chokshi: Slytherin

“What authors would you write with?”

Okay, the only answer I remember from this question is Chokshi & Graudin fighting over Laini Taylor. Although I vaguely remember Graudin also saying she’d work with Maggie Stiefvater, if she couldn’t have Taylor.

Note to Self #3: Take notes next time.

“Which of your books would you live in?”

Once again, I can’t remember all the answers. E. K. Johnston had said Exit, Pursued, because she “fixed the legal system” (TRUTH), and Chokshi had said her upcoming novel, a Crown of Wishes.

“How did you get an agent/published?”

Some of the authors got in more traditionally – writing, sending out query letters, etc. E. K. Johnston, funny enough, got an editor before getting an agent.

After that, it was time for the signing! I felt bad for only having two books, while a lot of the people in the line had at least one book from every author up there. I was worried about standing in front of one of the authors awkwardly, having nothing for them to sign because, well, I hadn’t read their books! After hearing them all talk during the panel, though, I definitely want to check out all their writing – especially Leah Bobet, because that woman has an awesome reading voice.

After a 30 minute wait in line (seated people got to go up first), I approached Roshani Chokshi. She is honestly one of the sweetest people in the world, and we ended up talking about how nice Bobet’s voice is. I had wanted to tell her that TSTQ had gotten me out of my reading slump, how beautiful her book was, and ask for a picture, but I was honestly too star-struck (author-struck?) to function properly, so I didn’t do any of that.

Note to Self #4: Stop being awkward.

E. K. Johnston signed her book for me next, although we were all kind of busy admiring another girl’s victory rolls to say much.

Note to Self #5: Wear something that will start a conversation.

I left the stage quickly after that, not wanting to block the lineup. It was then that I remembered that I’d wanted to get a photo with Roshani Chokshi, but decided that it was too late now. My mother and brother (who had come with me but went elsewhere in the store) were purchasing books for themselves, and when I told them about the forgotten picture my mom said “Go back! The line is short, and you don’t know when they’ll be coming back to Canada!”

So I went back, and snuck in a picture with the infinitely beautiful Roshani Chokshi (sorry my gross face ruins the photo)

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Thanks to the Chapters staff member – Leisha? – for taking the photo!

I would have asked for one with E. K. Johnston, but she was deep in conversation with some other people. She’s a Canadian author, so I’m hoping to have other photo opportunities with her another time.

And then, finally, I headed home, which is where I opened the books to see what the authors wrote.

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I posted this and my photo with Roshani Chokshi on my Instagram.

Overall, it was a really cool event! I’m glad I went and got to hear these wonderful authors talk books and writing. In fact, I think going really inspired me – but that’s a story for another day.

Until next time, lovely readers.

~ Becca

My First Indigo Teen Hangout Event

Last night at 7PM, ten Indigo locations across Canada held (what I believe is) their first Teen Hangout Event. I made the trip to my nearest location along with my wonderful boyfriend, Lucas, and this is how it went.

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It started off with a lot of rain. Lucas’s dad had agreed to drive us there, since he needed to be in that area anyway. Unfortunately, we ended up getting stuck in heavy traffic; it seems that people completely forget how to drive in pouring rain. We ended up getting to the location at 6:15PM – so much for grabbing a nice sit-down dinner beforehand. Lucas and I settled for a food court dinner, and ate quickly before heading up to the Indigo.

After hitting the washrooms, Lucas and I found the Teen section, where a bunch of other readers had gathered. The Indigo team – donning #TeamRhysand I Survived Chapter 54 shirts – were still setting up the space, which was tightly packed into a corner of the already small Teen section. Lucas and I stood in the furthest aisle, reading the titles and finding our favourites.

The staff finally called us to gather in the corner at 7:10PM. They apologized for the small space – they hadn’t expected this many people to show up (there were about 15 of us). They introduced themselves, and explained the fairylights and autumnal decorations; they were going for an Autumn Court theme (ACOTAR, anyone?), since fall is just around the corner. Then they jumped right into the hangout activities.

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First, we were all given a real rose and asked to place it in one of the vases on the closest table. Each vase had a book sitting in front of it – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Cinder, Miss Peregrine’s, Throne of Glass, and Looking for Alaska. Our roses would be used as ballots, and the book that got the most votes would become the Reader Pick of the Month at that Indigo location. I voted for Throne of Glass, but when Lucas handed me his rose (he didn’t know which one to vote for, since he hasn’t read any of them) I put it in the Miss Peregrine’s vase. What can I say, I wanted all the books to get some love!

After the voting finished, they handed out a little quiz for us to fill out, and the person who got the most correct would win an Indigo gift card, the second place getting a copy of the winning book in the previous vote. Thankfully, all the questions had to do with popular books, so I guessed the answers to most of them. The ones I didn’t get were:

  1. What’s Prim’s cat’s name? (Buttercup)
  2. What marks Magnus Bane as a warlock? (Cat eyes – one of the girls at the event actually gave me this answer, which was super nice of her)
  3. What are the names of Feyre’s sisters? (I got Elaine, forgot Nesta)

On the back of the quiz was a suggestion form – what did we like and not like about the event, what are our favourite books, etc.

After that we played a version of Heads Up, where we had to guess the title of the book on our foreheads with the clues the others gave us. The catch was that we weren’t allowed to say the title (obviously) or name any of the characters (a little trickier). People volunteered to go up and play, and everyone who guessed correctly got to pick an ARC from a pile they had on the furthest table. Unfortunately, because they hadn’t expected this many people they didn’t have enough ARCs to give out.

Luckily, I was picked to go up and play. The clues I was given were “It’s being turned into a movie” and “old”. So I guessed Miss Peregrine’s, and I was right! I was quite relieved, actually, that I got a book I knew (though never read), because I had been worried I’d be given a book I didn’t know, and therefore wouldn’t get an ARC. Priorities, I know LOL.

When I went to the ARC table, there were only about four books left to choose from. All of them were wrapped in brown paper and burlap, with tags on them that had 3 word descriptions of the books within. Like a Blind Date with a Book kind of deal. I picked the one that said “Royal, Survivor, Rebellious”.

From that description, can you guess which ARC I got?

Drumroll, please…

 

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I unwrapped it to find The Swan Riders by Erin Bow! The cover’s really neat, but when I saw the tech-y background I showed Lucas, who instantly took it from me and read the description. Now, unfortunately this is a sequel to The Scorpion Rules, so I’ll have to read that first before I read this. But the cool thing is that both Lucas and I are interested in it now – we both love a good sci-fi novel. What a neat way to be introduced to a book!

After that we took some pictures and sat around to talk books. One girl recounted the tale of how she didn’t talk to her grandmother for a month after she spilled coffee on her paperback Selection series books. The Starbucks in the Indigo brought us some mini vanilla bean frapuccinos, which was cool. The Indigo team even let us take home one of the roses!

Lucas’s dad called him at this point to let us know that he’d come pick us up. I went up to the Indigo workers (one of whom I swear is the sister of one of my former TAs) and thanked them for the fun event and for the ARC. They were really appreciative of the fact that we came to the event. They were so nice!

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And that was pretty much it. It was only an hour long event, so it actually took us more time to get there than we spent there. In the future, I now know that if I want to attend one of these events I need to make a day out of it. Spend more time in the big city, you know?

Thank you to Indigo for the fun event, and to Simon & Schuster Canada for the The Swan Riders ARC!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone, and thank you for reading!

~Becca

My First Book Signing and Meeting My Favourite Author

When I heard that Morgan Rhodes would be doing a launch party and book signing, I knew that I had to go. I had wanted to RSVP for the event immediately, but at the time I didn’t yet know when my summer school exam would be. My fear was that it would be on the same day as the signing. To say I would have been devastated was an understatement.

Luckily for me, my exam was on the very last day, 2 days after the event. This way not only could I attend the signing, but I would also have another full day to study! Huzzah!

So June 23rd rolled around, and I somehow convinced my friend, Jer, and my boyfriend, Lucas, to come to the signing with me. Two of my other friends, Gel and Sam, agreed to hang out with us downtown before the event.

We spent most of the day wandering to different stores – record shops, Chapters, comic book stores, thrift stores, and, of course, Starbucks! Sam and Gel headed back home at about 4PM, leaving Jer, Lucas, and I to our own devices for 3 hours. We roamed the city streets on the hot, sunny day, and ended up at a music store, where Jer bought a ukulele. After wasting some time in there, we decided to head to the book store early, Jer providing us with walking music on his cute new instrument.

It was a longer trek than we had anticipated, but we persevered and ended up at Bakka Phoenix Books an hour before the event was supposed to start. The staff were setting up for the book launch, but welcomed us in, nonetheless, so we could look around. Bakka Phoenix Books is a cute little indie book store, one of the few that I’ve been in.

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Lucas (back) and Jer (front) scouring the Bakka Phoenix Books shelves for their next read

With 45 minutes still remaining until the event itself, we meandered over to the ice cream shop across the street for a cool treat on the hot day. It was such a good decision, and that day I realized the value of looking at non-chain stores and eateries. You never know what treasures you’ll find!

Finally, the time had come for the event. We walked back across the street, and suddenly the shop had more than just the staff; book bloggers and lovers from the nearby area had gathered just like us, talking amongst each other and eagerly awaiting Morgan’s arrival. One of my regrets is that I didn’t talk to more people – I’m a pretty shy person when it comes to new people, so that day I had just stuck with Jer and Lucas. I wish I’d gone to talk to the other bloggers, maybe made some new friends in the bookish community, but c’est la vie.

Morgan arrived, and after she went around talking to a couple of attendees, she started the event with an introduction to A Book of Spirits and Thieves, and even read us 2 excerpts!

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Morgan Rhodes introduces A Book of Spirits and Thieves

After her reading we all headed to the basement of the book store for cake!

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After cake came the signing itself! Jer and I waited in the signing line, Lucas hanging out beside us as we advanced. Jer went first, though at this point I was too busy trying to figure out what I was going to say to her to hear what they were talking about.

And then, suddenly, it was my turn.

I pulled out the 3 books I had brought/bought to have her sign: Rebel SpringGathering Darkness, and A Book of Spirits and Thieves (ABOSAT)I’d already bought Falling Kingdoms signed, so these were the only bare ones. As she signed I rambled on about how it was my first author signing, and how my name is the same as one of the characters in ABOSAT. Seriously, I think I was fangirling too hard to be able to talk and function like a normal human being. Thankfully, Morgan took it in stride and made me feel welcome to the signing. She even agreed to take a photo with me!

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Me being an awkward potato, and Morgan Rhodes being a beautiful, awesome human being

After chatting with my favourite author and not winning anything in the raffle, Jer, Lucas, and I stuck around for a few more minutes. Unfortunately, we were exhausted from the sun exposure and all the walking we’d done that day, so we headed home early so we could all fall into bed.

By the way, here’s all the cool swag I got:

At the end of the day, it was a really fun event, and I’m super glad that I went. Morgan was so nice and funny, and I hope I get to meet her again soon! My copy of Frozen Tides is looking a little bare compared to the rest of the series, too, so that probably needs to be fixed…


 

Thank you all so much for reading today’s long post! Have a wonderful Wednesday ❤

~Becca

 

Working at a Library

Good morning, and happy Wednesday!

Today I thought I would talk to you guys about my library job, and why I love it so much.

How I Started

I began working at my university’s library about a year ago, just after I quit my retail job, at the suggestion of my mother. I applied for the summer Work-Study program, which meant that I would be working while I took summer school.

My job last summer was a Collection Maintenance Assistant position – basically, it was my job to keep the shelves organized through shelf-reading and shelving. I had 3 hour shifts, 3-5 times per week. The nice thing about that job was that I could basically take off time whenever I needed to and just make it up another day, since shelf maintenance wasn’t a huge priority.

Where I Am Now

Near the end of summer I applied for the position of Information and Loans Student Assistant during the school year, which is the job I’m continuing to work this summer since they’ve suspended the Work-Study job.

I stand at the front desk of the library, answering questions for library patrons and checking out items (books, chargers, laptops, etc). I also stand in the copy and print centre of the library as basic tech assistance, helping people print their documents, unjamming the printers, and reloading paper and staples, among other things. I also do a bit of collection maintenance for the last hour of my shift, just like everybody else.

During the regular school year I work 3-4 hour shifts, 2-3 times per week. In the summer, however, I’ve been working almost every day for 4-5 hours. It’s a lot harder to take time off with this job, especially in the summer when there are only 6 of us working. I am in charge of finding someone to cover my shift, and oftentimes it means covering another shift for that person (trading).

Why I Love My Job

When all is said and done, I really enjoy my job. There’s a lot less pressure than retail because I’m not trying to sell anything, and I find that the patrons I speak to – mostly students – are less picky and aggressive than retail customers are.

My coworkers are fun people, and we’re all students so there’s a kind of understanding we all share. The library staff members – the non-student workers – are very friendly, always cracking jokes, planning fun library events/decorations, and bringing in food for us. They’re also very understanding, particularly when we’re stressed or have a lot of upcoming projects. They work the schedule around our classes, and will hire more people if need be to cover shifts that nobody else can take (unlike at my retail job, where my manager told me that I needed to start coming in more often, even though I literally could not because of school???).

Another perk is that I get breaks – this shouldn’t be something I celebrate, but the fact that at my retail job I didn’t get breaks unless I worked 6 hours is the reason for my elation. Now I get 15 minute breaks when I work 4 hours, 30 min breaks when I work 5 hours, etc. Woot woot!

Future Plans

I would definitely like to continue working at the library for the remainder of my undergraduate degree. I’ve grown accustomed to how everything works, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of people through this job.

In the fall I’m debating becoming a Student Leader, which would basically be the same job, but instead of shelf-reading I would be in charge of making sure that the rest of the student assistants are shelf-reading properly, and maybe some other jobs that I’m not aware of. It would be a lot more responsibility, so I have to figure out if I’m ready for that or not, especially since I’ve only worked here for a year. I feel like my supervisors trust me enough as it is, which is good, but whether I trust myself to do it well is a different question.


So, that’s my life at the library! If you have any questions about working at the library, I welcome you to ask them and I will do my best to answer them.

Have a lovely day! ❤

~Becca

This isn’t the story I wanted to tell.

About a week and a half ago Indigo held a contest where the winners would go to the advance screening of Me Before You, the movie adaptation of the book by Jojo Moyes. I entered for fun, and then completely forgot about it.

Monday rolled around and I got an email from Indigo saying that I was one of the lucky winners of the contest.

Say whaaaaaat?

I’ve won book giveaways before, but I’ve never won like legit contests that companies held, so I was pretty excited about this. I invited my friend Jer to come with me, since he also read and enjoyed the book. We signed all the forms and printed our passes. I also found out that, before the screening, Jojo Moyes would be at the Indigo near the movie theatre doing a signing. I started writing the blog post about the signing and the movie in my head all of Tuesday, how I would share my experience at the signing with all of you.

We left early on Wednesday, wanting to give ourselves plenty of time to get to the theatre by 6:30PM. We ate dinner in a mall’s food court (A&W) at about 5:30PM, then started wandering through stores, trying to find Jer a coat because he didn’t bring one and it was colder outside than he thought it would it. We walked through the Indigo in the mall, looking at books but not purchasing anything.

When I think back, it’s funny that neither Jer nor I noticed that there was no signing booth set up for Jojo Moyes. That should have been my first clue.

At 6:25 we made it to the theatre, and we could see people at tables with movie tickets laid out in front of them.

I walked up to one and asked “Me Before You?”

The girl behind the table gave me a confused look and asked the exact same thing.

That should have been my second clue.

So Jer and I walked up to the guy who rips the movie tickets, and before I could speak he said “Neighbours 2 over here,” and he mentioned where to go if I were seeing another movie, but I forget what it was called. The point is, neither of the movies he mentioned were Me Before You.

So I held up my passes and he read the paper.

He then informed us that we were at the wrong theatre.

My heart dropped into my stomach.

Jer and I rushed downstairs, him on his phone trying to find out where the right theatre was. Apparently it was waaaay the heck North of where we were, so he called an Uber. We were waiting a long time, however, and I was getting impatient just standing there and waiting for this random car to pick us up, so we decided hailing a cab would be faster.

It felt like we were in the taxi for hours, but realistically we were only there for about 15 minutes. Jer says the drive was supposed to take longer, but this is one of the rare times where I’m thankful that our city’s taxi drivers are speed demons.

So at 6:58 we arrived at the theatre and rushed up the 3 flights of stairs that it took to get to where we needed to go (seriously, why were there so many stairs?). There were actually a couple of other people just like us, holding paper movie passes, one of them ahead of us, so she reached the table first.

There was a sign behind the table that read “Closed”, and the two women at the table were informing the girl ahead of us that the theatre was full, and instead they would be giving people vouchers to see any movie they want in the future. The girl was pretty pissed, asking how it was full and why nobody said anything. Unfortunately she didn’t read the fine print, where it states that they overbook on purpose to ensure the theatre will be full. The girl ended up just throwing her paper onto the table and stomping off without taking a voucher. Jer and I silently got our vouchers and left without making a scene.

We felt pretty stupid, actually: Jer had misread the address in the email from Indigo, which is why we had been at that first theatre, and while I had memorized the intersection near the theatre we needed to be at, not once did I clue in to the fact that we had been in the wrong place.

We took the subway back to the bus station, and bussed back home. We actually ended up meeting one of our friends at a Chapters closer to home, where we wandered around until closing. I bought some books (one a father’s day present) to try to make myself feel better – yay retail therapy!

So yeah, yesterday hadn’t really gone as we had planned it. Right now we (or at least I) feel pretty gross about it, but I’m sure in a few years on my wedding day Jer’s going to retell that story in front of all of my wedding guests, and we’re all going to laugh because old misfortune is hilarious.

I hope your Wednesday went a lot better.

Thanks for reading!

~ Becca