Bookstravaganza 2013 [@Randomhouseca @Chatelaine]

Book Reviews, Bursting the Bubble, Products and Brands, Toronto Adventures

Yesterday night was Random House of Canada and Chatelaine’s second annual Bookstravaganza! Randy and Cathy (the Directors of Strategic Marketing at Random House) were right, it was bigger and better than ever! Seriously, there had to be over 200 book-loving women (and a few men) seated with excitement at the lovely and glamorous Royal York Fairmont Hotel. I had the pleasure of sitting with a lovely group of women, one of which asked me “Who are you? Not what’s your name or what you do, but WHO ARE YOU?”. You can imagine that I hadn’t necessarily prepped for that question, I attended the event as a blogger and book-lover and hadn’t expected to delve into my heart and soul. Thankfully before I had a chance to answer Cathy Paine and Randy Chan took the stage and the event began.


We got to hear from some pretty amazing and influential people in the publishing world — Jane Fransisco from Chatelaine, Lynn Henry Publisher of Doubleday, Laurie Grassi Books Editor at Chatelaine, Wayne Johnston author of The Son of A Certain Woman, Mary Swan author of My Ghosts, and more! In between these speeches we watched “Sizzle Reels” telling us which books to expect out for Fall. It looks like my taste for books mimics that of The Editors because my top three books to look out for this Fall just happen to be their picks too!


Kicking the Sky by Anthony De Sa  (I’ve already read and reviewed this one, already on sale)

Kicking the Sky is told from the perspective of one of these children, Antonio Rebelo, a character first introduced in Barnacle Love. Twelve-year-old Antonio prizes his life of freedom and adventure. He and his best friends, Manny and Ricky, spend their days on their bikes exploring the labyrinth of laneways that link their Portuguese neighborhood to the rest of the city. But as the details of Emanuel’s death expose Toronto’s seedier underbelly, the boys are pulled into an adult world of danger and cruelty, secrets and lies much closer to home.

The Circle by Dave Eggers (On Sale October 8)

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Already On Sale)

In 1866, a weary Englishman lands in a gold-mining frontier town on the coast of New Zealand to make his fortune and forever leave behind his family’s shame. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to investigate what links three crimes that occurred on a single day, events in which each man finds himself implicated in some way: the town’s wealthiest man has vanished. An enormous fortune in pure gold has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. A prostitute is found unconscious on a deserted road. But nothing is quite as it seems. As the men share their stories, what emerges is an intricate web of alliances and betrayals, secrets and lies in which everything is connected and everyone plays a part, whether they know it or not.

PicMonkey Collage

Bookstravaganza is the kind of event you can attend every year and always be amazed by the sheer love that people have for books. It’s the perfect event for the avid reader, the casual reader, or even the one-book-a-year kind of reader. It’s a great way to learn about upcoming books that you may not otherwise hear about. Random House of Canada and Chatelaine put on an amazing event and I cannot wait to get my hands on some of the books coming out this Fall.

There’s nothing better than a book you can get lost in and I think I’ve found a few on the Random House list!


Love Always

Vanessa Xo

Bursting the Bubble [Week 11]

Bursting the Bubble, Toronto Adventures

Yes, you read that correctly, I just finished WEEK ELEVEN of my internship — next week is the final week. But before I dwell on the sadness that envelopes my heart at the thought of that, I’ll tell you what happened this week.

Random House of Canada, Chatelaine Magazine, and Flare Magazine teamed up to celebrate the launch of Crazy Rich Asians at the Shangri-La Hotel on Tuesday. Although I’m still an intern, I got to attend as a blogger which meant I received a wicked gift bag at the end of the evening. This launch was by far the swankiest I’ve attended. The hotel is GORGEOUS and the Museum room was perfect for the event — plus the hotel is mentioned a few times throughout the novel, so why not!

I started the night out with the signature drink: Shangri-La Lemonade. A delicious concoction of vodka, cranberry juice, ginger, orange juice, and soda. Then I mingled with my fellow bloggers and watched the room get pretty packed with both book people and magazine people. It was great to attend an event where the two worlds intertwined. Kevin Kwan took the stage, as did the publisher of Doubleday Canada, and two seriously fashion forward ladies from Chatelaine and Flare – which was my favourite part of the evening. Kevin Kwan gave a sweet, sincere, and witty speech, mentioning his love for Canada and his gratitude for Canadians who love to read!

Week 11 was FULL of binding and mailings but just as full of good weather, hard work, and a few laughs. I love working with positive, passionate, and upbeat people who listen, answer, and understand. Everyone has taught me something about the world of publishing and I am so glad I decided to come into this internship with an open mind and all the energy and passion needed to back it up. I now understand why internships are so important and how great they can be if you give your all.

Also, this week I’ve been preparing for interviews (that I hope will come up). I’ve been sending out my resume, gathering references, and researching all I possibly can about interviews to ensure that I make a great first impression. This internship has made me want to work, to start a career, and to devote my energy, time, and passion to a job I enjoy.

largeIt’s also helped me appreciate many of the people in my life. I don’t know if I mentioned this before but my family waits for me every single night to eat dinner with them. I get home anywhere between 6:35 and 7:10, and for a family who used to eat dinner at 6:00 on the nose, eating at 7:00 would normally cause a serious kind of HANGER. Even if they’re hangry, they don’t mention it. We eat together and discuss our days and they ALWAYS listen to my stories and to my anxious yammering (even my 16-year-old brother who probably doesn’t care at all). Getting home and talking to my family makes the subway delays and bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 400 disappear. I definitely appreciate the bf and my best friend a lot more too — I don’t see them as often as I’d like and when I do, I usually fall asleep! I always miss them and I appreciate their encouragement and their constant belief in me — I owe you two, forever!

Next week is my final week as a publicity intern at Random House of Canada. I’m a little sad at the prospect but you never really know where life is going to take you. It will be the end of a three-month chapter but the beginning of something else too.

I feel like I’m on the edge of glory.

I know that I’ll have to make a leap to something bigger? different? and I have less than a week to do it…

Here goes nothing!

Love Always

Vanessa Xo

“Books are glamourous, books are sexy, books are FUN!”

Just for Fun, Toronto Adventures

Picture from Retreat by Random House Blog

Yesterday night was the first ever BOOKSTRAVAGANZA hosted by Chatelaine Magazine and Random House Canada. The event was located at the Ritz-Carlton on Wellington street and oh my was it grand!

Surrounded by book-lovers, writers, and head-honchos of the magazine and book publishing world, I stood back in awe. It was a little intimidating to say the least but everyone was friendly and welcoming. I even got to meet Lindsey from Random House Canada, the lovely lady who gave me the opportunity to review books for them.

After an hour of cocktails and lip gloss testing (got an awesome lips gloss from Bourjois Paris Cosmetics), we were settled into a lovely ballroom where and introduced to the amazing books coming this Fall from Random House Canada. I think I’m most excited about Sussex Drive by Linda Svendsen, I’ll have to get a copy of that one!

So many wonderful people spoke about new books, the reasons to love books, and the passion and dedication it takes to create a fabulous book. It was amazing to hear from the editor of The Purchase by Linda Spalding as well as the editor of Chatelaine magazine – so many successful, hardworking, women in one room, truly inspiring.

The authors of The Sweet Girl and The Selector of Souls were in attendance also. They spoke about their novels and at the end of the evening every attendee was given a copy of their books and the chance to have them signed. It was great to hear Annabel Lyon speak, since I just finished her novel. You rarely get to see or hear the person behind the words you’re reading. It’s funny because in those brief five minutes that she spoke, I heard the voice of her main character from The Sweet Girl, Pytho.

Oh, I forgot to mention that they gave away prizes all evening! I was the lucky raffle-winner of a Sony tablet (thanks again)! The raffle was an amazing surprise for all the ladies there. Then came the swag bag…

The swag bag contents are the two bottom pictures and the magazine 🙂 . My kind of heaven: books, notebooks, makeup, chocolate – oh my GOODies!


I need to work in publishing. My life needs to be surrounded by books and I need to write my own on the side! #Bookstravaganza


Thanks to Random House Canada and Chatelaine for hosting a great event and to my boyfriend for bringing me downtown and spending some time with me in a room full of ladies 🙂

Love Always
Vanessa Xo