Episode 9: New year, new books!

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 8.27.00 PMHello lovely listeners!

Happy 2016 – I’m so happy to be back with more author interviews, book reviews, and other fun book things on the Literally, Katrina podcast! In today’s episode, I talk about some fantastic books I read over the holidays and I also review The Road to Atlantis, written by Canadian author Leo Brent Robillard.

Literally, Katrina is the first stop on a blog tour to get the word out about The Road to Atlantis, a powerful novel about family, tragedy, and what it means to rebuild after you lose everything. It’s so heartbreakingly good! Listen in for my review of the book, as well my interview with Turnstone Press’s associate publisher Jamis Paulson about the blog tour.

I am also giving away a copy of The Road to Atlantis to one lucky listener!! All you have to do is follow @LitKatrina on Instagram and like the Episode 9 post to enter. I’ll be announcing the winner in one week from today, on Monday, January 18th. Good luck!

Looking for some great reads to dig into this year? Here’s a list of what I read over the break:

throne of glass seriesThe Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I binge-read the entire series over the holidays and I’m pretty smitten. The fourth instalment in the series, Queen of Shadows, won the 2015 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy – well deserved!

25614833Pillars of Light, written by British author Jane Johnson, is a 12th century epic set during the Third Crusade. Chronicling the notorious Siege of Acre, this stunning adventure of a novel reveals both the brutality and beauty of humanity through the eyes of ordinary people. For fans of Philippa Gregory and Ken Follett, and reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven, this irresistible and humanizing epic is sure to delight. I loved this book! Catch my review of this novel in the Winnipeg Free Press in the coming weeks.

And speaking of the Winnipeg Free Press, my review of the award-winning novel Book of Sands by Karim Alrawi was out on Boxing Day. Missed it? Check it out here.

Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe to Literally, Katrina on iTunes (or the Apple Podcast App), like Literally, Katrina on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @LitKatrina, and add me on Insta @LitKatrina.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2016 full of good books and good people!

Until next time, happy reading.
Katrina

Episode 8: It’s literally a cozy christmas

Bookclub with Melinda
The book club ladies with author Melinda Friesen. From L-R: Beckie, Kaeri, Jessica, Melinda, Miranda, Katrina, Carla.

Hello listeners!

In today’s episode of the Literally, Katrina podcast, we listen in on a chat the It’s Literally a Book Club had with local author Melinda Friesen (see photo above!), and I also reveal the winner of the #cozychristmas Instagram contest. It’s quite exciting! Take a listen:

It was so great having Melinda join us! Hopefully we’ll get a chance to chat with her when her second book comes out in the new year! For more information about Enslavement, you can visit Melinda’s website at melindafriesen.com. Enslavement is also available in-store here in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson, Chapters, and Kite & Kaboodle in the Johnston Terminal at The Forks.

christmastreeOkay, so now what you’ve all been waiting for! Here’s a recap of what’s in the #cozychristmas prize pack, which I’ve been revealing bit by bit on Instagram over the past month:

  • One spectacularly cozy handmade scarf by Pebble and Dime, made right here in Winnipeg by the lovely Vivian Sawatzky. It’ll keep you warm (especially now that we actually have snow) and it’s also adorable so you’ll look good, too.
  • One delightful Coal and Canary “All I Want Fir Xmas” candle, also made here in Winnipeg – if you haven’t heard of Coal and Canary, it is the local candle company taking Hollywood by storm – that’s right, last year, Coal and Canary candles were in celebrity gift bags at some major award shows, including the Grammy’s. “All I Want Fir Xmas” is a scent from the 2015 holiday collection and it smells like the perfect christmas tree – I love it so much!
  • A book by Giller Prize-winning author Marina Endicott, called Close to Hugh, which was also on the 2015 Giller Prize long list. Heartwarming, heart wrenching, and full of humour, this book gives us the chance to spend a week with some of the most interesting and infuriating characters – artists, actors, and prima donnas abound in this novel about love, loss, and life. And every chapter title is a witty play on words to do with Hugh, who is the loveable main character – for example, “nothing Hugh can do”, “I only want to be with Hugh”, and “can’t buy Hugh love”. Oh the puns. I really enjoyed this one.
  • And last but not least, A Whole Life, an international bestseller by Robert Seethaler. I reviewed this little gem of a book for the Winnipeg Free Press a little while back and really treasured the gentle and moving story Seethaler tells about Andreas Egger, a guy just making his way through life in the Austrian Alps. This book also features one of the most romantic wedding proposals ever, so there’s that.

Without further ado, the winner of the 2015 #cozychristmas contest is…..nadine.leila! Hooray! How exciting!

That wraps up 2015 for the Literally, Katrina podcast! I’ll be back in January with another book giveaway and much, much more. Thanks for listening! Don’t forget to subscribe to Literally, Katrina on iTunes (or the Apple Podcast App), like Literally, Katrina on Facebook, follow me on Twitter @LitKatrina, and add me on Insta @LitKatrina.

Until 2016, Merry Christmas and happy reading!
Katrina

Voting Season

Hello readers!

As we approach the end of the year (my, how time flies) voting season is upon us. Soon, we’ll begin seeing “best______of the year” listicles from Buzzfeed pop up all over social media, and I have to be honest, I love reading those lists. I like to see if my favourites match up with other voters. I like to see who or what takes the top honour. And I really like voting – who doesn’t like giving their opinion?

Books are not exempt from this list – the Scotiabank Giller Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for Canadian writers, was just announced on November 10th. I am currently reading Close to Hugh, by Marina Endicott, one of the Giller Prize long-list selections, and it’s great! This year’s winner is Fifteen Dogs, by André Alexis. I’ll have to add that to my TBR pile!

Goodreads

And every year, Goodreads, the biggest online reading community, hosts the Goodreads Choice Awards. The opening round of voting ended on November 8th and the second round ended on November 13th. The verdict is in: readers love giving their opinions on their favourite books – now in the final round, over 2.7 million readers have cast their votes! There are some heavy hitters up for nomination this year in each category (there are 20 categories, ranging from mystery/thriller to cookbooks, so there is something for everyone – check them out below). Some of my favourites of the year are nominees, including Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I can’t wait to see which books make it through to the very end!

Goodreads 2

The final round of voting is open until Monday, November 23rd (when Episode 6 of the Literally, Katrina podcast comes out!) – cast your votes now!

Until Monday, happy reading!
Katrina

Episode 5: The power of storytelling

Wonder Horse by Anita Daher, out now.

Hello listeners,

Episode 5 is here! In today’s episode, I chat with lovely Winnipeg author and actor Anita Daher about her book Wonder Horse, out this past spring (it’s precious).

I also give a reader’s confession – have you ever stayed up all night to finish a book? I certainly have! But I’ll admit, it doesn’t happen often anymore – who has time to pull an all-nighter just to finish a book? A lot of us don’t have the luxury of time, and sleep is in high demand…but sometimes, a book is just so good that it warrants a late-night reading marathon. Just wait until you hear my confession!

Lastly, I tease you with an upcoming contest, coming your way just in time for the holidays (hard to imagine, considering we don’t have any snow – no complaining here!). Stay tuned for instructions on how to enter and what’s in store.

Thanks so much for taking a listen. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes or the Apple podcast app, give the Literally, Katrina Facebook page a like, follow me on Twitter @LitKatrina, and don’t forget to share this episode with your friends! The more booklovers I get to talk to, the better!

Episode 6 will be up in two weeks. Until then, happy reading!
-Katrina

Top Ten: Guilty Pleasures

Hello readers,

First off, I want to thank all of you for your amazing support! I’m so grateful to have so many wonderful friends and family members take an interest in my writing and even pick up a book recommendation or two. Writing these posts never feels like ‘homework’ knowing that you’re taking a read. You’re all gems.

Now, you may all remember a Top Ten list I posted back in autumn that focused solely on Historical Fiction. True story: I just finished another powerful WWII fiction novel right now!! Don’t judge! I can’t get away from it. I read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which was featured on the “Best Books of 2014” lists on both Amazon.com and Chapters, and it also won a Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction this year. It was beautifully written and I highly recommend it! But, my friends, because I’ve already covered historical fiction extensively, I thought I’d give you a break by covering my guilty pleasures – so fun!

Get excited! (giphy.com)
Get excited! (giphy.com)

TOP TEN: Guilty Pleasures – books so bad, they’re good

1. Lauren Conrad’s teen fiction trilogies are ridiculously addicting! If you grew up watching Lauren Conrad and Speidi on The Hills, these are for you. If you’re a fan of (un)reality TV, you’ll want to read these books. It’s like reading a TV show – quick-paced, dramatic, amazing.

  • L.A. Candy, Sweet Little Lies, and Sugar and Spice
  • The Fame Game, Starstruck, and Infamous
Lauren Conrad is excited about her books too! (giphy.com)
Lauren Conrad is excited about her books too! (giphy.com)

2.  Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Teen fantasy fiction with a Russian magical twist – don’t say nyet to these ones!

3. The White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter. Romance novelist Gena Showalter takes us on a trip (like a really trippy trip) with this Alice in Wonderland re-make filled with zombies, hot boys, and creepy scientific experiments. So bad. So good.

seriously trippy (giphy.com)
seriously trippy (giphy.com)

4. Anything by Clive Cussler. The villains are crazy, the plots keep getting more and more unbelievable, and the twists just keep coming. Clive currently has five different series going but his most famous series focuses on main character Dirk Pitt, played by Matthew McConaughey in the 2005 film Sahara. Good book, good movie. good stuff. Every time I travel, I take one of Clive’s paperbacks with me. I even have one written in German.

5. Dan Brown‘s early novels – Deception Point and Digital Fortress. From the author that brought us The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, these fast-paced thriller-dramas are a little hokey yet totally entertaining. Every hostel I’ve been to has a couple Dan Brown books kicking around.

6. THE TWILIGHT SAGA. Need I say more? Teen vampire romance = the ultimate guilty pleasure.

sums the story up pretty nicely! (giphy.com)
sums the story up pretty nicely! (giphy.com)

7. The Dark Heroine Series by Abigail Gibbs, an ambitious amateur 19-year-old author. The first book, Dinner With A Vampire, caught my eye at Chapters with a big silver sticker on the front cover saying “The Sexiest Romance You’ll Read This Year”, so naturally I picked it up. It was sexy/questionable/so-so/good. The second book, Autumn Rose, was similarly good/bad! The third novel (in what’s expected to be a nine-book series) is set to come out sometime in 2015 and I know I will give in and buy it.

8. Books written by Nicholas Sparks that have been turned into movies – none will ever beat A Walk to Remember or The Notebook, but most of his books are perfect for poolside/beach reading. I always end up reading one of these while on summer vacay.

200-8 200-7

9. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. I was NINE years old when I first read this and I still come back to it when I need something cute/cheesy/easy to read. The movie doesn’t do the book justice!

10. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. This was a childhood favourite and I recently re-read the entire teen-fantasy series just for kicks. So juvenile, so good.

Well, folks, that’s it and that’s all for this week! What are your guilty pleasures? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy reading,
Katrina