BLOG TOUR: Company of Eight

Today, I have the absolute pleasure of hosting Harriet Whitehorn, author of The Company of Eight, on my blog. She’s here to talk about something I was SUPER curious about when I was invited onto the blog tour: 

My Top Three Female Led Fantasy Stories

Little Red Riding Hood

Fairy tales are almost always about girls, and I presume, historically were used as a method to indoctrinate young ladies in how they should behave – for example, if they did a lot of housework without moaning they might end up with a handsome prince.   Most of the heroines are drippy beyond words but I have always had a soft spot for Little Red Riding Hood in her attention seeking red cloak, who wants a little bit more out of life and strays of the path in search of adventure and excitement with the Big Bad Wolf. 

Alice in Wonderland 

Alice is another girl in search of adventure, and what a time she has of it with the array of amazing creatures she comes across in Wonderland- the sinister Cheshire Cat and the tyrannical Queen of Hearts are my personal favourites .  And what I love about Alice is the practical and no-nonsense attitude she retains in the face of the chaos of CS Lewis’s crazy world.   

Lila in The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Philip Pullman

Pullman’s best known heroine is Lyra in the Northern Lights, but I rather like Lila in his earlier story, and she is every bit as brave and tenacious as her more famous counterpart.    Despite being told by her father that being a firework maker it is an unsuitable job for a woman, Lila is determined to be pursue her dream, and goes on a quest to prove it, ending up winning both The Firework Festival and her father’s approval of her career choice.  

Thank you so much Harriet for your brilliant post! Massive thanks to Stripes for inviting me to be part of the blog tour too!

Everyone should go check out The Company of Eight – I read it a while back and absolutely adored it!

Image result for the company of eight

When Ravellous’s Circus Ship comes to Minaris, Cass is determined to audition despite her guardian Mrs Potts’s disapproval. But when her chance is snatched away from her, Cass refuses to give up. She sets out to follow the Circus Ship and the journey leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit. Will she succeed in following her dream, or is her destiny something altogether different? 

I am Day 1 of the blog tour! I can’t wait to see the rest of the posts on the tour, check out the banner below to see who else is on the tour and check out their posts when they go live!

The Company of Eight BLOG TOUR BANNER

Happy reading!

S x

S4S – Hidden Gems

Hello Sunday! How are you all? 

What has been happening this week? Have you been up to anything exciting? I’ve had a busy work week, lots going on as normal! 

Today#s #SixforSunday post is:

Hidden Gems

Now, I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else chooses. I’m going with “books I loved that I don’t see a lot of other people talking about and it makes me sad because they’re great, go and find them and read them ok?”.

  1. The Paper Magician trilogy – Charlie N. Holmberg
    Man. I can’t. Why more people haven’t read this is BEYOND me. I absolutely adore this trilogy and more people need to experience Emery and Ceony for themselves. FOR REALS.
  2. The Boy, The Bird and the Coffin Maker – Matilda Woods
    This is a MG book which just made my heart really happy. It has the most GORGEOUS cover too.
  3. Coco Pinchard books – Robert Bryndza
    Now… these books are HILARIOUS. I genuinely miss Coco’s voice. She’s so funny and these books are just so brilliant. 
  4. Paper Aeroplanes/Goose – Dawn O’Porter
  5. Anything by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
    He writes INCREDIBLY WELL. 
  6. Anything written by Mitch Albom
    These books ALWAYS ALWAYS make me cry. Tuesdays with Morrie is a firm favourite in my life. Just superb.

Now, I’m well aware that lots of these are not brand new releases but you still need to get on them. I have recommended like 15 books in this list… NOT SORRY. 

Share your #SixforSunday with me too! Link me on twitter! I’m loving how many people are joining in. Massive shout out to the return customers! #SixforSunday loves you most.

S x

BOOK BLOG: Juliette Forrest

Twister: a dark, compelling and punchy story

(look how pretty the proof cover is!!)

“Twister’s father has gone missing and as she’s searching for him she stumbles across a witch living in the woods. She is given a magical necklace that holds the souls of living things and can turn the wearer into a wolf, or a rushing river, or a rainstorm. But there’s a dark foe on the hunt for this necklace, a baddie who wears a coat crawling with creatures and who might have something to do with her father’s sudden disappearance…”

Twister tells the tale of Twister – yep, that’s her name! – a brave, naive and sweet MC who goes on the hunt for her dad. That’s all she wants. She wants her dad back. She knows there’s some kind of secret, or darkness, to his disappearance, she just doesn’t quite know how to get him back. She receives a letter in her search for him, which ends up being quite important to her. 

36987545(finished cover)

This is a brilliantly fast paced book, filled with lots of adventure. There’s a gorgeous sense of magic and the unknown to it. I wanted to read on to find out what comes next. Twist’s dog, Point, is one of my favourite supporting characters in this. He’s loyal and he’s a friend Twist needs at the worst of times! Twister is a complex but curious main character, telling a story which is quite dark at places.

As every good book does have, there’s goodies and a very scary baddy. Twister has people on her side, people she can rely on, people she eventually (and as readers, we have to) trusts. These characters give the story a lovely depth. The other characters are all compelling in different ways. And you can never beat a compelling villain!

This book is so beautifully written that you experience every emotion Twister does. She goes through anger, disbelief, sadness, loss… and you feel it all. You can’t get away from the emotions. They’re there to be felt and in reading you can’t escape them. There’s moments of Twister being bullied for who she is – starting the book like this was an eye opener. Seeing how Twister deals with the bullying, her strength, made my heart soar. She’s a brilliant main character. 

There’s a definite dark feeling to some of this book. As a teacher, I’d be quite careful about who I recommend this to – it’s not inappropriate, but it has its moments of darkness. It’s definitely an UKS2/KS3 book. I really enjoyed reading something slightly more complex and haunting

Have you read Twister?
How would you react in Twister’s situation?
Do you prefer the finished cover or the proof cover?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! 

S x


Cover sneak: Anne of Green Gables

Something very exciting is coming this year!

Sweet Cherry Publishing are publishing all eight books in the Anne of Green Gables collection in September this year. They have been modernised and repackaged for children.

Along with a few other bloggers, I get to share a sneak peek of a little bit of the cover! If you go over to Sweet Cherry’s twitter, there’ll be the other sneak peeks and I’m sure this will give you a true flavour of what the new covers will look like!

I know I’m looking forward to seeing these covers… I’m a bit of a cover magpie!

9781782264439 (4)

Oooh! So a beautiful plait, a pink flower… and naturally the green!

I can’t wait to see the other snippets of the covers!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Ali Sparkes

Night Speakers: a magical tale of finding friends and allies in unsuspecting places

Night after night Elena, Matt and Tima wake at exactly the same time, with no idea why. It’s messing them up and fracturing their lives … until they venture out into the dark and find each other. And then the sleepless trio realize their astounding power – they can speak any language; they can even communicate with animals. But something is happening over on the industrial estate – something which is emitting sounds that only they can hear, and killing any winged thing that crosses its path. There’s nobody to fight it but themselves, for only they can possibly understand it and what it means to do … 

Imagine being woken up at 1:34am every day (I hate waking up at any point during the night, so knowing that I was going to wake up at 1:34 every night would DRIVE ME MAD). Imagine not knowing WHY you’re waking up. Imagine there being a strange feeling around. There’s something not right. Someone’s watching you. Or is it something? You’re not really sure. 

This is what is happening to the teenagers in this book. They’re all awake in the middle of the night. Initially, there’s nothing to think of it… but when they get their heads together, they share that they’re all awake at the same time. Things start to happen. They meet in the dead of the night to try and figure out why they’re awake. What is going on to make them be awake? Why just them? Why do they all feel like they’re being watched? Why do they feel like they need to fight?

Not only do the teens have to contend with this waking up lark, but there’s also a discovery that they can communicate with things they’d not been able to before. Imagine being able to speak to animals. Imagine them understanding what you were saying. That’s some power that is. These brilliant teenagers have that. It so easily could be used for bad, or good… the battle between good and evil roars on. An ability to communicate with nature, not just animals, is explored in this brilliant book too. (I can’t decide if I’d embrace or shy away from this ability…)

The characters are brilliant. They’re each very defined and distinct. Some conflicting personality traits, but like everything, seeing the overall picture is the one important thread. They were gutsy and brave. They made decisions that adults definitely wouldn’t. They took risks. I read this book with a bit of admiration for them. Kids are brilliant protagonists as they still have this awe and wonder about the world – sometimes lacking in adult characters. I distinctly remember one scene making me cry too… 

I absolutely adored the imagery and the use of language in this book too. It was one of those cases of “getting lost in the world” and I think it’s exceptionally well written. The slow and steady feeding of information and images through the book keeps you wanting to read, to find out what happens next. To find out what this big evil is. To find out if the kids manage in their quests to overcome the evil. 

I’m massively looking forward to more from this series… I’m hoping it is a series! I’d love to meet these kids and their friends again. 

Thank you so much to OUP for sending me a review copy! 

Would you like to be able to talk to animals?
Which animal would you like to speak to most?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! I’d love to talk about this magical book! You know how I feel about magical books… 

S x

BLOG TOUR: The House With Chicken Legs

Today I have the absolute joy of hosting the brilliant Sophie Anderson, author of the gorgeous The House with Chicken Legs, on my blog. She’s here to talk all about one of her favourite Russian fairy tales and what it means to her. 

House with Chicken Legs jacket

The House with Chicken Legs is BRILLIANT. My review will follow in the coming days, but I can not wait for you all to read it because it’s an incredible story which kids and adults alike can adore. Can we also appreciate that cover please?!

Fifteen Russian Fairy Tales and What They Mean to Me

The Cat Who Became Head-Forester (on the dangers of a single narrative)

‘If you drop Vladimir by mistake, you know he always falls on his feet …’

In this Russian fairy tale, retold and published by Arthur Ransome in 1916, Vladimir is a tomcat who is always fighting. He has lost an ear in a fight and is ‘not very pretty to look at’. His owner decides to get rid of him, bundles him into a sack, and abandons him deep in the forest.

Vladimir tears his way out of the sack and sets off to explore the forest. He was head-cat in the village he came from and decides he shall be head of the forest too, so walks along like ‘the Tsar himself’. He finds an abandoned forester’s hut and moves in. When hungry, he catches birds and mice in the forest, and when tired he sleeps in the hay loft. But he is not content, as he must catch all his own food and do all the work for himself.

One day, Vladimir meets a pretty young vixen and tells her his name is Cat Ivanovitch and that he has been sent from the far forests of Siberia to be Head-forester over all. The vixen is impressed and invites Vladimir to her earth, where she feeds him tasty game. She asks to be his wife, and spends each day catching game for her grand husband.

While hunting, the vixen meets her old friend Wolf and tells him about her new husband, the Great Cat Ivanovitch, Head-forester over all. Wolf wants to pay his respects, so the vixen tells him to leave a sheep near their earth. Next, the vixen meets Bear and tells him to leave an ox as an offering to her husband, the Great Cat Ivanovitch.

Wolf and Bear leave their offerings near the earth and decide to hide nearby, hoping to get a glimpse of the Great Cat Ivanovitch. Wolf hides amongst dead leaves beneath a bush, and Bear climbs to the top of a fir tree.

Vladimir emerges from the earth and begins eating the ox, purring as he does so. Wolf moves his head, attempting to get a better look, and the leaves around him rustle. Vladamir stops eating and listens. Thinking the rustling is a mouse, Vladamir leaps onto Wolf’s nose with claws extended.

Wolf yelps and Vladimir, startled, darts up the fir tree. Bear, at the top of tree, thinks the Great Cat Ivanovitch is attacking him and jumps down, breaking branches and bones along the way. Wolf and Bear run off, terrified and …

‘Ever since then all the wild beasts have been afraid of the cat, and the cat and the fox live merrily together, and eat fresh meat all the year round, which the other animals kill for them and leave a little way off.’

When I first heard this tale, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I started off feeling sorry for poor Vladimir, abandoned in the forest. But he lands on his feet, and by the end of the story is head of all the forest. I wondered if I was meant to admire his tenacity and resourcefulness; his ability to turn his luck around.

But how he achieves success is morally questionable. He lies to the vixen, and is lazy, making her do all the hunting. By the end of the story I felt sorry for the vixen, the wolf and the bear, who had all been lied to and tricked into hunting for Vladimir. However, I also felt they were partially responsible; for believing Vladimir without question, and for wanting to ingratiate themselves with the Great Cat Ivanovitch. I felt particularly cross with the vixen, as she offered to marry Vladimir simply because he was Head-forester, and she perpetuated his lies. 

It seemed to me they might all be in the wrong; Vladimir for lying, and the others for believing him. But then again, it didn’t seem fair to blame the others for simply being trusting. After all, I don’t think it would be good to assume everyone we meet is lying to us. The story made me think about trust versus suspicion, and at what point it is important to do some fact checking.

Certainly, before you marry someone, or work for them, or repeat what they have told you as fact, I think it is a good idea to be sure they are being honest. The vixen, the wolf, and the bear, only ever hear Vladimir’s story – that he is Head-forester – and accept that as fact. But if they had checked his story, done a little research, listened to the thoughts and opinions of others, perhaps they wouldn’t have been fooled so easily.

As I have grown older, this lesson has become only more relevant. The internet has appeared and grown to unbelievable proportions. Endless information is out there, easily accessible, yet still people are fooled by cats like Vladimir. Still people share information without fact checking, like the vixen. And still people rise to power through morally questionable actions.

Perhaps if we all sought out and listened to more than one side of every story, then cats like Vladimir (or Trump) wouldn’t have so much power.

The Cat Who Became Head-Forester can be found in Old Peter’s Russian Tales, written by Arthur Ransome, published by Puffin.

Sophie Anderson - new author pic

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson publishes in paperback, 3 May, £6.99 from Usborne.



Go check out the rest of the blog tour, there are sure to be more incredible stories like this one to be shared! 

Chicken Legs Tour Graphic

S x

A letter to… you!

Hello pals,

I’m writing this here letter because something pretty BONKERS happened in my life recently and I need to get my thoughts down before they take over my world. I’ll probably cry reading this through, writing this and then talking about it, but that’s OK. As RuPaul once said, “Emotions don’t scare me”.

So just over a week ago, I won Best Newcomer at the UKYABA awards. Read that again. I won. HOW? WHAT? Seriously though, what?

I was not expecting it at all. It was just an honour to be longlisted. Then to be shortlisted. Then to win. I was speechless – technically not, I did do a speech. I can’t remember SPECIFICALLY what my speech was as my brain was like “OMGWHATHOWNOWAYOMG”. My speech went a little like this (cue tears, a lot of tears):
I’m not really sure what to say. My life is a little bit in two halves. I blog and I teach. Blogging is a creative outlet from those really crazy teaching weeks. I wouldn’t be here still blogging if it weren’t for #SundayYA. A massive thank you to everyone who voted for me, this means the world. 

Blogging is a very important half of my life. It gives me an outlet. It’s a little corner of joy in my very fun, stressful, hectic, busy life. I love teaching, but it gets a bit much sometimes. Blogging gives me an outlet for that stress. I blog because I love writing. I blog because I’m GREAT at rambling. I blog because it’s 2 hours of my week where I get to just spend a bit of time doing something for my brain.

Less than 2 years ago, I started sitting down and writing my ideas down. My thoughts. My rambles. My first post was incpired by a trip to see Matilda the Musical while on a residential in London. If you didn’t know, that’s in fact where I got the inspiration for both my blog title. Looking back at that post now and I still remember that freedom, that joy in just typing, just saying what I wanted. I still have that joy today. Never in a million years did I think anyone would read that first post. I thought it would fizzle out after a while. Yet here I still am. Blogging about things I love most – books and teaching. The two threads of my life. Back then I never thought anyone would read anything I have to say, never mind that they were good enough to read day after day and nominate me for an award. It’s still quite bonkers that anyone bothers to read what I have to say to be honest. I am eternally grateful though. 

The blogging community gets some slack sometimes (for not being inclusive enough, for being elitist, whatever…) but I genuinely am lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the most supportive people in the world. I have the best bunch of friends a girl could ask for. I’m lucky enough to call some of my all time favourite authors my actual friends – I know… this is madness, but I can. I’m lucky to have relationships with publicists who trust me and send me books in the post to read and review (this is NEVER an expectation of mine, and even now, 2 years down the line, it still baffles me!). I buy an EXCEPTIONAL amount of books every month… it’s best we don’t talk about those though. I get to talk about the books that I love, with people I respect, admire and genuinely love. The books I buy, or am sent, I get to share with the kids I teach. They’re the things that matter. I love my kids. 

My friends, in this community, are incredibly supportive. I’ve wanted to give up multiple times, yet every time one of my friends convinces me that I should just keep going. I am so incredibly glad I have. Whether it’s come from an established blogger, or a newbie (like me!), the support is much appreciated. 

Here’s to many more years of blogging… I hope you don’t get bored of me! 

S x

S4S – Snacks?


Allo! How are we all? What have you been reading this week? Anything brilliant? Anything surprising you? I’d love to know your current reads! I’m just nebby (for those who are not versed in Geordie, nebby means nosey).

Today’s #SixforSunday theme is:

Favourite snacks to read with

Now, I don’t NORMALLY snack (unless I’m in Starbucks and then it’s a Nutella cookie or some ginger biscuits) whilst reading, but if I were to reach for a snack or a drink, these would be my choices:

  1. Tea
  2. Hot chocolate
    Again, obviously
  3. Chocolate hobnobs
    Only the king of hobnobs for me
  4. Bourbons
    The king of biscuits.
  5. Love hearts
    Man, I GENUINELY think these guys might be my favourite sweets
  6. Tangfastics
    Love a jelly me. Love a tangy jelly even more!

I’d love to know what your choices for this #SixforSunday prompt is! Reading habits are such a personal thing… some people will snack, some won’t! Let me know!

Share your #SixforSunday post using the hastag and link me on twitter! I can’t wait to read your posts!

See you next week!

S x

#EasterReadathon round up

During Easter weekend, the brilliant Kate (of Reading Through Infinity fame) was hosting the #EasterReadathon. I don’t know if I ever officially signed up… I didn’t have a TBR. I’m very much a mood reader. However… I had a VERY productive #EasterReadathon, so I thought I would share the books I read with their synopsis and short thoughts about the books! Full reviews will come in time, do not fear guys. 

During #EasterReadathon I managed to read 7 books. 7 books in 4 days is not bad going!

Book 1
The Company of Eight – Harriet Whitehorn 

(left: my proof copy/right: finished cover)

“When Ravellous’s Circus Ship comes to Minaris, Cass is determined to audition despite her guardian Mrs Potts’s disapproval. But when her chance is snatched away from her, Cass refuses to give up. She sets out to follow the Circus Ship and the journey leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit. Will she succeed in following her dream, or is her destiny something altogether different?”

I really enjoyed this. It was fast paced and full of danger and peril. The main character was really likeable, I want to be her friend! The language was beautifully rich. I want to join the company! Sword fighting and badass women? SIGN ME UP. Thank you so much Stripes for my proof copy!

Book 2
Spark – Alice Broadway


“Leora is reeling: questioning everything she has ever known about her family and herself. As half-Marked and half-Blank, can she ever wholly belong in either fractured community? Mayor Longsight wants to use her as a weapon: to infiltrate Featherstone, home of the Blanks, and deliver them to him for obliteration. Leora longs for answers about her mysterious birth mother, and Featherstone may reveal them. But will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets?”

Man. I have COMPLEX emotions about this book. I love Leora so much. I just can’t process how I feel about this book yet. A full review of this is to come because I can’t put into words how much I loved it. The story telling, the world building, the interwoven fairytales (comnpare these to Ink and your brain will explode). It’s just majestic. I love Alice so much. I can’t wait for book 3 of this trilogy… I only have to wait a year!

Book 3
The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

(left: my proof copy/right: finished cover)

“Fionn Boyle and his older sister Tara have been sent to stay with their grandfather on the remote island of Arranmore for the summer. Though Fionn has never met his grandfather before – an eccentric old man who lives in a tiny cottage filled to the brim with candles – he knows he comes from a long line of brave lifeboat men, who wear the sea behind their eyes. Fionn is scared of the sea. He has no interest in adventure or shipwrecks or the restless wind that rustles through the island, as though in search of something. But an old magic is stirring deep inside the layers of Arranmore, and it is calling out to Fionn.”

This book is INCREDIBLE. I read it in a matter of hours. I just adored it. Fionn is a remarkable young man – his progression from scared young man, to quite a brave and bold man is wonderful. The magic, the island, the mystical nature of the situation, the relationships with his family. I can’t wait for this to come out (July, I believe!) and everyone to experience this wonderousness. (A full review will come closer to release!) Thank you so much to Kids Bloomsbury for my proof! 

Book 4
Skylarks – Karen Gregory

“When she was little, Joni used to have dreams that she could fly. But these days her feet are firmly on the ground – they have to be when money’s tight and her dad can’t work and the whole family has to pull together to keep afloat. Then she meets Annabel. Annabel is everything Joni isn’t, and yet there’s a spark between them. Though Joni barely believes it at first, she thinks they might be falling in love. But when Annabel’s parents find out about the relationship, it’s clear they believe there are some differences that are impossible to overcome…”

This was an interesting one! I absolutely ADORED Countless by Karen Gregory (even now it makes me blub thinking about it!) and was looking forward to this! Skylarks explores social class, injustice and the power of money. It’s refreshing to read something where the person is a little bit more real. It packs a punch too. I love the Cooper family a lot. Thank you so much to Kids Bloomsbury for my proof!

Book 5
The Buried Crown – Ally Sherrick

“It’s World War Two and Britain is on the brink of invasion. Londoner George has been sent to live in in the countryside while his brother and guardian, Charlie, fights overseas. But the war is closer than he thinks. An ancient burial ground nearby contains a priceless treasure, a magical Anglo-Saxon crown Hitler is desperate to possess. Alongside Kitty, the granddaughter of a Jewish archaeologist, George must find and protect the crown from the Nazi invaders before it’s too late…”

This was a SURPRISE entry. The lovelies of Chicken House sent it over to me and the gold made me pick it up. AND MY WORD, WHAT A BOOK. I absolutely adored it. It was full of adventure. I’m a sucker for a WW2 book, so this was RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. A brave young man protecting something unique from the hands of Hitler himself? YES PLZ. Memorable characters and a brilliant plot – watch out for a full review coming up!

Book 6
Me Mam. Me Dad. Me

“Danny’s mam has a new boyfriend. Initially, all is good – Callum seems nice enough, and Danny can’t deny he’s got a cool set up; big house, fast car, massive TV, and Mam seems to really like him. But cracks begin to show, and they’re not the sort that can be easily repaired. As Danny witnesses Mam suffer and Callum spiral out of control he goes in search of his dad. The Dad he’s never met.”

I don’t want to say too much about this because I have a blog post coming up about it, but I need to tell you guys how much I loved it. Look, I’m a Geordie. There are VERY FEW books set in Geordieland. To read a book written by a Geordie, set in Geordieland, with a LIKEABLE Geordie main character is a rare occurance for me. This story had my guts in knots for 99% of the time. I love Danny. So much. Thank you so much Head of Zeus for sending this to me. It’s made an imprint in my heart.

Book 7
Max the Detective Cat: The Disappearing Diva

“Max, chief mouse-hunter at the Theatre Royal, is up to his whiskers in his first mystery! Max is a pampered cat, used to the finer things in life, until a fun mouse chase goes badly wrong and he finds himself scruffy and alone and hiding out at the Theatre Royal. It’s here that Max takes on his first case as a detective cat, when he notices that famous singer Madame Emerald is acting strangely. Why is her maid so terrified? And what kind of singer doesn’t like to sing in public? Soon Max is trapped in a complicated web of crime, dashing round dancers’ legs and over the rooftops of London in a race to catch a clever thief…”

The lovely Nosy Crow gang sent me this book and it was a properly fun caper. It gave me such Aristocat vibes too, in the very best way. I really enjoyed it. Super readable and interesting. The illustrations were great too! A detective cat, living in a theatre, foiling a theft? Yes please! 

And there you have it! My haul of #EasterReadathon books! I don’t always get through 7 books in one weekend, I’ll have you know! It’s a testament to how brilliant these books were that I got through them all! Thanks so much Kate for hosting! 

Did you join in #EasterReadathon?
How many books do you reckon you could get through in a weekend?
Are there any on this list you’ve read, or would like to read?

Speak to me! Comment me, tweet me! 

S x

YAShot 2018

Last weekend saw the brilliant day of YAShot finally come upon us and what a day it was! From authors to awards, coffee to chilling, friends to feelings… lots of fun was had by all.

YAShot is a brilliant, one day bookish event held in Uxbridge, which features tons of brilliant authors doing panels, workshops and in conversation events. There’s also the chance to go to signings and generally just have a lovely bookish day! I went down with my gorgeous Kelly on the Friday and we met some fellow bloggers for tea. It was so lovely to meet some new faces – ones I’ve been talking to forever online! That’s the other beauty of these events… people who you talk to online become people you’ve spoken to in real life. There’s nothing quite so surreal as “You’re Steph, aren’t you?”. Yeah, that’s weird. 

On Saturday, Kelly and I had arranged to do ALL of the same panels because that’s us. We come as a pair now.


The first panel we went to was Power, Privilege & Inequality, which saw Helena Coggan, Mark Huckerby, Vic James, Nick Ostler and Samantha Shannon, chaired by Phyllida Shrimpton. It’s always interesting to hear people talk about their books. Having read Gilded Cage, I was excited to hear Vic James speak. I now need to read some of the other books because the authors made some interesting points!


The next panel we stayed for was How relationships shape women’s lives featuring Holly Bourne, Emma Craigie, Leila Rasheed & Sufiya Ahmed. It’s always really interesting hearing about different authors and their influences behind their books. I love hearing Holly Bourne talk, she’s so effortlessly cool and funny. There were some very interesting points made in this chat, which hit quite close to something that was going on in the YA world at that time.

I then found myself sauntering off to Uxbridge Library to hear my absolute fave Melinda Salisbury talk with Alwyn Hamilton about their books. The title of the ‘in Conversation’ was Stories for Change. I just adore these two women and their books. It was so gorgeous to listen to Mel and Alwyn talk together about their books with such love. It was clear from the conversation that they’re both clearly fans of each other’s books! Hearing interesting information from the two ladies, along with a lot of laughter is ALWAYS a good thing.

Following the in conversation with Mel and Alwyn, Kelly and I went down to get some books signed! We both took our Goodbye Perfect proofs and finished copies to get signed and Sara Barnard was darling enough to sign them both! It’s mad seeing authors I love for reals actually recognise me and WANT to speak to me. We also pestered Mel and Alwyn for a moment or two… sorry signing queues!


After a quick bit of lunch and a cup of coffee with a friend, we then checked out Privacy, entertainment & technology featuring Lauren James, Laura Steven (who is just a babe, I love her a lot), Nicci Cloke & Kerry Drewery. There were interesting conversations had around portayals of social media in books, the dangers of technology and why its important that they’re included in YA books.

Then there was a mad dash to go get signings from Laura and Lauren back at the library!

In our bags was a 10% off code for Waterstones Uxbridge, so Kelly and I took this time off to go and explore Waterstones and see what delights they had for us. We both picked up In Your Light by Annalie Grainger after the recommendation from none other than Katherine Webber (who is a firm fave of ours!)
Image result for In Your Light

The final panel we watch was Family, Faith & Identity featuring Sita Brahmachari, Simon James Green, Antonia Honeywell, chaired by the gorgeous Katherine Webber. This was a brilliant panel, which at one point I definitely did not cry at. Story telling is amazing and I am definitely moved by it… a lot!

And there you go! Those were all of the in conversation and panels I went to at YAShot. Come back tomorrow to find out all about the UKYABAs!

S x