HCC Frenzy Presents Fantasy Panel! | Meeting Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne & Victoria Aveyard // Turns out I am not as cool as I try to be…

Greetings readers!

Wow. It feels like I haven’t written a recap post for an event in ages, especially for an author event. And you know why?? It’s because I haven’t been to an author event in months. Seriously, I cannot remember the last one I went to. And due to this…I’m a little rusty on my social skills…yeah I’m already making excuses.

A couple of weeks ago, HCC Frenzy hosted a big author event in honour of three fantasy authors! That’s right I got to meet Tahereh Mafi, Maya Motayne and Victoria Aveyard this month! It was a limited ticketed event so I didn’t think I was going to get a wristband, but my darling, darling friend, Rezanne @ The Wicked Reader got the first two wristbands and handed one to me! *sobs* And it came with reserved seating and early access in the line!!! *SOBS harder*

To make my story short: The event was amazing. The authors were super nice. I made a fool of myself naturally. I got my books signed.

But to really understand this story we have to start from the beginning.

Getting There!

My family agreed to come along with me to the mall where the event was to be held. It’s pretty far from where we live so they would go off shopping while I would be in the event. It was a lovely plan.

But the drive there was a little bumpy.

My dad hadn’t been to the mall in a while and so we needed a GPS to get there. Unfortunately, we took the longer way to the mall and there was an accident on the way there which slowed us down even more. Then when we finally got into the mall, finding parking was a challenge, it was as if it were boxing day! There were so many cars and the entrances to the lots were full! But finally we found a spot and although we were all a little flustered, we finally got in.

scooby doo GIF
via giphy.com

The Event!

Before the event, I was hoping to snatch myself a signed copy of Stephanie Garber’s FINALE. I didn’t know Indigo was carrying them, but to my surprise they were! BUT TO MY EVEN BIGGER SURPRISE, the only copy that the Indigo in the mall had was NOT signed! *hangs head*

Okay so the actual event. The authors came in and they were pretty amazing. Ashley, Frenzy’s rep hosting the event, asked all three of them super interesting questions. We learned about their varying writing processes, their inspirations, their favourite books/shows and it was all so incredibly interesting!

I, unfortunately, didn’t take any notes so I don’t remember all the details, shame on me. But if you look up Frenzy on twitter, I’m sure you’ll find lots more on what was talked about during the event!

Let’s just say chickens, sandwiches, maps and notebooks were some of the highlights of the night!

The Signing!

I was nervous.

excited teyana taylor GIF by VH1
via giphy.com

Like incredibly nervous.

I wasn’t prepared to make conversation that night. I simply wasn’t. My author-meeting skills were super rusty, plus I had never read Tahereh’s books, I really enjoyed Maya and had a card for her and well I didn’t really know how to approach Victoria!

So I was nervous.

First up was Tahereh.

Basically I talked about my cousin the whole time who actually did read her books. I told her about how much my cousin loved the characters and the story and how she unfortunately couldn’t be there that night. Tahereh was super sweet and told me to tell my cousin “Hi” and that she was so honoured to hear about her. It was great. I made it through my first meeting without a hitch.

Then came Maya.

I said “Hi.” I handed her a little card I wrote for her. I said ‘Hi” again and then started my spiel. It started out great. It didn’t end great. Here is how I remember how it went down:

“Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. I made you this little card to tell you about your book. I absolutely loved Nocturna. I thought it was so incredible and the characters were amazing.”

*she responds with many thank yous*

“You’re welcome. It was so great and…and…and….”

*my throat gets tight*

*Feels a lump growing*

“And I…”

*Eyes begin to tickle*

Inner me: Wait…wait..wait..am I tearing up??? Am I about to cry. No!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE Rendz. Do not cry. Why are you going to cry? There is literally no reason that a tear should fall out of your eye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But they did. The tears leaked out and I while was not exactly crying, my eyes were leaking in front of Tahereh, Maya and Victoria…

*tears up more at the embarrassing fact that I am tearing up.*

*laughs like a child at the ludicrousness of tearing up in this scenario*

You know how in YA books, characters sometimes want the earth to open and swallow them up. Yeah. That was me.

“Ohhhhhh” –said the authors

“OMG. I don’t even know why I am crying. I feel like such a loser right now. I’m sorry.”

The authors: “No, don’t feel bad. It is so sweet. You’re Maya’s first crier. It is a special moment.”


Turns out I said the last bit out loud, but they laughed it off.

My episode ended with Maya thanking me again while I dried up any remnants of salty water. She was so nice about it and personalized my books in Spanish.

But I was soooo embarrassed.

face palm GIF
via giphy.com

Lastly came Victoria.

She was super sweet after my whole fiasco. I was still feeling super flustered, but I got through another convo. I told her about how much I know she likes Narnia and she told me how she used to write fanfiction for it. It was a quick convo because I really wanted to get out of there after that, but she was really nice about everything.

Then I walked off the stage with my signed books and breathed a sigh of relief. It was over, I had made a fool of myself and it was great. Yup.

The After!

I waited for eyes to look less puffy before I went out to meet my family. No way would I ever tell them about my break down. Which I attribute to many things: nerves, excitement, social anxiety and stress from earlier that day. Still I would have been mocked and dragged through the mud by them. So if one of them reads this post, I accept my ridicule.

Overall, it was a fabulous event. It was fun, the questions were great, I laughed, I–uh–cried. I got my books signed! Both my ARC and finished copy of Nocturna were personalized and signed. It was great.

But maybe next time I should prepare myself a little bit better mentally to keep myself in check. XD

Let me know what you think! Did you attend the event? Have you ever gotten emotional in front of an author? How do you prepare to meet authors? What authors would you love to meet? 

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


Nocturna | Review // There is much fun to be had!

Greetings readers!

First of all, I need to shame myself because this review was supposed to be published way before the release date, but life got in the way and I didn’t get around to it. But it is here now so at least there is that!

I also had the lovely opportunity to meet the author this past weekend, but more on that will come in a later post!

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)
via Goodreads

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
Publisher: Baltzer & Bray
Price: $23.99 CAD

Set in a Latinx-inspired world, a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

Buy It

Chapters Indigo | Amazon

*I was provided an ARC by the HCC Frenzy team!*

OKAY so here is the deal. This is the first ever Latinx YA that I have read written by a Latinx author. So expect my expectations to be mighty high. The novel is inspired by the author’s Dominican heritage, so while it might not be my specific culture, I was still jumping off the rooftops so excited for this book!

The Likes

The Characters:

These trouble makers were the #1 reason I was so enchanted by this book. I absolutely adored them.

First and foremost there is Finn. Our fierce and mighty faceless thief. You might be a little ??? like I was when you read the faceless bit, but trust me it makes total sense. After after years and years of changing your face you seem to lose yourself in it. But yes. FINN. I truly did enjoy her. She was not a *good* person and she did a lot of shitty things, not all that she regrets. And I loved that we got to see why she was who she was. I loved reading about her backstory and the pain that she went through. I loved that she was incredibly unapologetic and yet she still had room for remorse. She was a walking, talking contradiction and I really enjoyed reading about her.

Then there is Alfie. Who is a Soft Boi™ even if he’s got issues. (I guess his issues add to his soft boi-ness) I really enjoyed reading from his POV too. His grief from losing his brother really tore him apart and he–omg–he makes so, so many mistakes!! Half the time I was like Alfie–please think!!!!! But no character ever listens to me! *shrugs* And yet there was something so evidently interesting watching him fumble and put his heart and soul on the line to mak things better. I loved reading about his growth from this boy with no future, the spare to the throne that all of a sudden has to grow up. And he doesn’t grow gracefully, he is challenged by others and himself each step of the way and I just thought his journey was really interesting


All the characters, even the side ones, had so much heart and soul and dimension in this book. They weren’t stock characters that serve one person but they had all these layers to them that I really enjoyed watching come apart. I have to shout out umm…a certain…uhh…*father figure* because holy cannoli whenever he came onto the page I got major heebee geebees.

There was Light and there was Dark:

This book is not what I consider a Dark fantasy. It really didn’t strike me as such, but there were definitely some heavier themes in this book that struck our characters lives deeply. Physical, psychological and emotional abuse played such a critical role in one of our character’s lives and journeys that it was really heart-wrenching to read about sometimes. Grief was also a huge factor in the lives of these characters as they have both lost so much and continue to lose so much throughout the story. So alongside this general mischievous and snarky dialogue and plot, there are shades of gray that these characters have to face along the way.

The Writing:

I really enjoyed the writing. You’d think because this book deals with some heavy topics that the overall tone would be a lot more somber. But these characters and this world had so much heart. There was this constant humour that had me giggling here and there and the characters sure knew how to crack a joke and a comeback–something I cannot for the life of me do.

Can we call this a romance?:

It is technically a play on my favourite trope. Enemies to lovers. But you know how people like to extend that to: enemies to reluctant allies to reluctant friends to friends to maybe more than friends to I would die for you friends to lovers. Well this book stops about when they get to Maybe more than friends and I was left wanting so so much more. But I really did like the fact that there growing feelings for each other took a back seat and that it festered quietly sneaking up on both of them at the end. And the ending is really sweet. But yeah I want MOAR.

This oh so magical world:

This was really cool magic. Alongside your regular elemental powers, everyone has their own propio magic.  A personal magic that is unique to the one person and I absolutely loved this part. As much as I love elemental magic, the propio magic just gave this world a richer character! I could definitely see some of the Dominican influences in the food, the music and obviously the Spanish that was used!

The Questionable

I really did enjoy myself while I was reading but I still felt like something was missing. I mean the action was there, the magic was there, the great characters were there…but I can’t say it’s the perfect five stars. I know I wanted more from their relationship…but it’s not that either. I know I was left with a lot of questions about the plot, but there is a sequel so I think more of those will be answered with the books to come.

There was also a lot less Spanish than I expected too. I have to say that I am a little disappointed with it and the times it was used felt a little awkward here and there. (Although I did love the Sana sana colita de rana-bit) I think the Spanish verbs would have worked better conjugated when using magic, but that’s just me *raises hands*
BUT there is a big historical reason behind the lacking Spanish so yeah–let’s just say that colonialism sucks.

So the thing is I can’t really tell you what it is that I feel is missing. Maybe the darker undertones needed a little more exploration or maybe not. I really can’t say. I just can’t put my thumb on it and it is really frustrating!

Overall, despite not knowing what exactly is making me question my love for this book, I DID TRULY LOVE THE EXPERIENCE. There is a lot of action to be had and the magic is one you will envy to have. I loved the characters the most, they are what really made this book for me and I hope to see more of them in the sequel!

Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars 

Recommend: YEAH! Yeah! YEEAAHHH!!!

Let me know what you think! Have you read this book? Are you looking forward to reading it? What kind of elemental or propio magic would you want to have?

Happy reading!

~ Rendz


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