Reading Habits book tag

Hello!

How are we all today? Have you been having a good week? What have you been upto this week?

Last week, my lovely friend Kelly (of Kelly’s Rambles fame) tagged me in this “Reading Habits” tag and it was so interesting to read her ideas that I thought I’d give it a go too! Thanks Kelly, I’m not tagging anyone in particular, but go for it if you’d like to!

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper?

I’m generally neither. I know. NO, I don’t fold pages (who even does this?!), I just tend to remember the page numbers I’m up to (and if I remember to update my Goodreads, then that can help!) I do own 7202747 bookmarks though, so I should probably start using them!

Stop reading randomly or after a chapter/certain amount of pages?

Generally, I’ll stop reading after a chapter, or a natural stop in proceedings. I’m reading Six of Crows at the minute and there was a little chapter break, so when I was too tired, I stopped there. HOWEVER, I generally go to the end of a chapter.

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

Bed, haha! There’s nothing better than snuggling up in bed and reading. I’d love to, one day, have a library or like a little book nook under the stairs. Who knows what the future has in store!

Do you eat or drink whilst reading?

Not generally? I often have a cup of tea/coffee (when I’m in Starbucks, generally), but I’m not a “I must have a snack while I read” kind of girl. Snacks are bonus reading fun!

Multitasking: music or TV when reading?

Now, this is where I’m a strange egg. If I’m travelling on a bus/train, then I MUST have music on, it feels wrong not to listen to music/have some kind of noise going on. If I’m at home, I read in silence. I know I’m bizarre.

One book at a time or several?

Normally, only one. I can read books for me and books at school. But for my own reading pleasure, it’s generally only one!

Reading at home or everywhere?

I will read here, there and everywhere. I always have a book in my bag, so you’ll find me reading. If I’ve got more than 5 mins going spare, I’ll be reading!

Reading out loud or silently?

I love reading aloud at school, it fills my bookish heart with joy. If I’m just reading a book for me though, I’ll read it in my head!

Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I don’t intentionally NOT break spines, nor will I think OH NO if I break a spine, but I like to look after my books.

Do you write in your books?

The general answer to this is no. I wouldn’t write in my books. I’m part of a group of friends who send around the same book and everyone annotates it. The first time I received the book to annotate, it felt SO WRONG. YOU CAN’T WRITE IN BOOKS, THAT’S NOT ALLOWED. There was a bit of liberation to it.

And there you go! Some reading habits from my little life. 

Let me know if you do this tag, I’d love to see your answers!

S x

April bujo!

Today I bring you my April bullet journal set up so far. (If you wanna see my past months set ups: November bujo!December bullet journal…January bullet journalFebruary bujo! and March bujo!)

Now, confession time: I did not journal AT ALL in March. My pretty bullet journal didn’t get touched. I just didn’t find myself reaching for it. I think it did impact my mood slightly. Not having that time to reflect on the day and find something positive in every day wasn’t there. I’m going to try and be a better bujo mammy this month. So far so good. It looks like nothing is filled in yet, but that’s just because I took the pictures at the beginning of the month. I’ll show you the end product in May’s bujo!

So yes, confession time over!

Here we go…

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I’m a little bit in love with April’s title page. The weather so far has reflected this, so it’s an apt title page. I’m loving exploring and experimenting with fonts (I’m not GREAT, but I’m trying!)

Next are my mood pages. On the left I have my monthly mood tracker – I’ve gone with little yoyos (who knows what they are, I kinda like them though!). I’ve only gone with 6 moods this month, I’m STILL toying with the ones I feel most (I’ve said this EVERY month for the past however many months… please help me out here guys!). On the other side of the page is the trusty old sunshine of gratitude. I’ve since added a quote to the middle of my sunshine. This is becoming somewhat of a staple gratitude page for me, I just think it looks so effective and it’s not that complex to set up (unless you’ve got a 31 day month, then the maths is a bit harder!).

As ever, on the right, I have my trusty book post page. I’ve been a bit lax filling these in over the past few months. I always remember who/when I got my book post, but I wanna keep a track of this better so I can post it in my monthly round up. Let’s hope I can make my brain let it happen! (Also, LOOK AT THE FANCY PANTS WRITING I DID. I’m pretty chuffed with it). On the left, I’ve created myself a blogging page. I’ve no idea if this will work or not, however I am finding that I have blog ideas more often now and writing them in my phone does not always prove successful. 

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Finally (for now) we have the trusty old weekly spread. I’ve tweaked it a bit since the last time I filled it in (see my confession). I’ve stuck with my mood tracker because this is not going anywhere. I’ve added a reflections box (the smaller purple one at the bottom) and a kind of master to do list (professional and personal columns). I have 700 million things to do at all times. 

And that’s all for now! I really do hope I can get back into my journaling groove. I missed it. Going back and colouring in these pages made my heart very happy. I love colouring in!

Have you ever lost your journaling groove?
What is your tip for getting your mojo back?
What moods do you track? (since I can’t decide!)

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter. I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who has ever lost my bujo mojo (haha!) As ever, I want to point you in the direction of Kelly’s Ramblings bujo posts because they are #bujogoals. 

S x

S4S – Favourite places to read

Morning!

We have reached the day of sun once again this week. How are we all doing? What are you up to this joyous day of sun? Do you even have sun on this Sunday? (We rarely have sun on Sunday… I think that’s a deceptive name!)

Today’s #SixforSunday theme is:

Favourite places to read

I’m not going to lie… I’ll read ANYWHERE. I always have a book with me, so that’s not an issue. But, my favourite places to read are:

  1. In bed
    There’s nothing better than a cup of tea, a comfy bed and a good book. Yes thanks.
  2. The window seats in Starbucks
    The Starbucks I frequent on a Sunday has window seats and you’ll generally find me there… with some work initally and then I’ll get out my book and have 30-40 minutes for myself.
  3. On the bus 
    Travelling time is an excellent bit of spare reading time. I’d only be bored otherwise.
  4. On the train
    Yep. Living in the North, I get the train many places. 3 hours of reading time? That’s at least one book! Yes please!
  5. On the carpet with my kids
    I would use silent reading time as reading time for me, as well as the kids. Initially it was hard for them to accept that I was reading too, but eventually it became the norm and reading alongside them is lovely. As a class teacher, this is something I’m hoping to get into my weekly practice.
  6. On the beach
    Now this might sound a bit weird, but hear me out. The beach is my happy place. Books make me happy. Pair them together and you have an utter win in my eyes. I’ll see you in the summer on Tynemouth beach with my book!

There you have it! There are so many other places I read, but these ones are absolutely my favourites.

Share your #SixforSunday picks with me on twitter. I can’t wait to see your posts!

See you next week!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Simon Philip

I Don’t Know What To Call My Cat: a funny and charming exploration of importance of names

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“Every cat needs a name. One name, one word, just a sound… It should be easy to choose one, right? WRONG!!! I just don’t know what to call my cat! Choosing the right name for a new pet is very important! Find out just what this cat’s name turns out to be in this clever and witty story from an exciting debut author and talented young illustrator.”

I Don’t Know What To Call My Cat explores the story of a young girl who gets a pet cat and worries about all of the things that come with owning a pet, but mostly… what can she call the cat? She goes through a whole host of names, with no luck. Then the vet throws a spanner in the works, highlighting the fact her cat is in fact a tomcat and not a queen. Her cat disappears and she gains a pet gorilla, named Steve, obviously. Now she has a pet who has a name, but she misses her cat. Whatever will happen? Will the cat ever have a name? 

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I absolutely adore the illustrations in this book. They’re so beautiful and a particular favourite of mine is the one below. LOOK HOW UNIMPRESSED THAT CAT IS. It made the kids at school proper chuckle: “Miss, that cat looks SO STUPID” “Miss, why would you dress your cat up as a Queen? Cats aren’t meant to have crowns!”. So yes, the illustrations are definitely a hit!

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This book is full of humour and has gone down an absolute pleasure with the kids at school! We thought about pets and names, and our names after reading this book. The kids loved thinking of their own new pet and what name they’d give it! 

PLUS. Look at those end papers man *heart eyes*

Thank you so much to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of this book! It’s a firm favourite in our school!

What would you call your cat if you got one?
What’s your favourite cat name? 
(I’m fond of human names for cats).

Let me know your ideas in the comments or on twitter! Speak soon!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Malcolm Duffy

Me Mam. Me Dad. Me: touching, hard-hitting and brilliant

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“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 was sent Me Mam. Me Dad. Me by the lovely publishers Head of Zeus and guys, IT’S A GEORDIE BOOK. IT’S WRITTEN BY A GEORDIE, WITH A GEORDIE MAIN CHARACTER, SET IN GEORDIE LAND. As an exceptionally proud Geordie, this made my heart so happy. It was so refreshing to read something that was in my dialect. It’s nice, every now and again, for a book to “get” youto see yourself in the book. While I’m not Danny, I’m a Geordie, I say the words he says, I speak the way he does, I know the places he goes… it was SO LOVELY to see MY WORLD in a book. 

Me Mam. Me Dad. Me tells you the story of Danny, a young man who has grown up just him and his mam (I loved seeing the word mam throughout this book, that’s what I call my mam, not mum or mom… mam). As the book goes on his mam falls for Callum, who seems like a nice enough fella to start with, but who’s not a nice man at all. He’s abusive, manipulative and down right horrid. His mam brushes it off, but it bothers Danny a lot. Eventually, Danny decides that finding his dad and getting his dad’s help is the only solution to the Callum problem… which ends pretty disastrous. 

It’s so nice to read a Geordie character who is actually likeable. I’ve only read one other – Juno Dawson’s short story in I’ll Be Home For Christmas! (Here, I’m going to keep saying this, so get used to it). Danny is one of those just good kids. He wants to look after his mam. He just wants her to be happy and safe, and who would blame him? I’d be doing the exact same thing. He’s so normal: he goes to school, has a girlfriend, has mates. He’s so brave. He’s naive and foolish too. His plan isnt foil proof if we’re honest. Going to find the dad you’ve never met? Good shout Danny. But I really liked him. I really felt for him. 

Then you’ve got Callum. That deplorable man. I just have no time for him. He’s condescending, abusive, mean, manipulative. Watching his character change over time was fascinating however. He starts as this generous, happy fella and in the end, he’s not that at all. His separate relationships with Danny and Danny’s mam are interesting – shouldn’t he treat her with the respect someone deserves who you love? Well, you’d think. 

I really liked the family element to this book. You see Danny’s mam’s family, Danny’s dad’s new life and Callum’s family. All 3 very different. All bringing different vibes to the book. 

This books deals with dark topics I can’t deny that. There are scenes which are really hard to read. There’s moments where my heart hurt for Danny. I say this but there’s also a lightness about it. Finding yourself, finding your family, standing up for what’s right, teenage naivety. I would absolutely recommend this book to everyone and anyone. 

I hope this just inspires more Geordie books, because I endorse this massively. 

My goodreads review:
A Geordie voice? A tough topic? A book which will make your gut wrench but also make you laugh at times? 
I’ll keep going on about this BUT ITS SO NICE TO READ SOMETHING IN MY DIALECT. Man, we need more Geordie MCs. This was just so refreshing.

So yes, if you can, please go out and buy this/request it from your library. It’s so brilliant, it’s hard-hitting and it’s authentic. We need more voices like Danny’s (and not just the Geordie voices!). 

Have you read Me Mam. Me Dad. Me?
Would you like to see more books in different dialects?

Let me know in the comments! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Ross Montgomery

Max and the Millions: adventure filled and laughter a-plenty!

“Max is used to spending time alone – it’s difficult to make friends in a big, chaotic school when you’re deaf. He prefers to give his attention to the little things in life… like making awesome, detailed replica models.
Then Mr Darrow, the school caretaker and fellow modeller, goes missing. Max must follow his parting instruction: ‘Go to my room. You’ll know what to do.’
There on the floor he finds a pile of sand … and in the sand is Mr Darrow’s latest creation… a tiny boy, no bigger than a raisin, Luke, Prince of the Blues. And behind the tiny boy… millions of others – a thriving, bustling, sprawling civilization!”

Max and the Millions starts with one of the most intriguing first chapters I’ve read for a long while… I knew that I was in for something very fun and interesting from that opening chapter. Reading on did not disappoint!

Max tells the story of young Max, a boy who doesn’t have many friends, just trying to keep going at boarding school. This boarding school has possibly the world’s worst headteacher (genuinely despised the man… he bothered me a lot) and Max does not fit in. He wears hearing aids and his headteacher is not very subtle about it. He’s singled out a lot. He doesn’t feel included in school life at all. He has a friendship with the school janitor, they bonded over building miniature replica models. However, when the janitor disappears it is up to Max to try and save the world which has been built before it can be ruined. 

Max, having found a secret message in Mr Darrow’s room, has to leave school for the summer. This makes him worry. Will the janitor’s room and all of the things inside still be safe after the summer holiday? When Max arrives after the summer holidays, he is amazed to find that there are now millions of little people living in Mr Darrow’s room, in this little world which was created there. 

There’s some hilarious moments with the 3 warring camps which are living in the room – the Reds who are led by the Queen; the Blues, led by a pretty lazy son of the deceased king, and the Greens, ran by a pretty mean man. The descriptions of where they live within the room (under the bed, in the bin) made me chuckle. It amazes me that authors can see everyday things and come up with such extraordinary little worlds! 

Max knows he needs to get these 3 camps to agree and he needs to get them to safety. He eventually finds an ally in one of the boys at school. The friendship between Max and Sasha was brilliant to see. Max learns to trust people and, in time, builds a friend. 

I’m a massive Ross Montgomery fanPerijee and Me is one of my favourite books. This one is a great book to read next. The kids at school are loving it! 

My goodreads review: A great book filled with adventure and laughter! Certainly made me laugh out loud more than once. Brave main characters, an excellent portrayal of disability and a mean head teacher. This is accessible and fun, kids will love it!

Have you read any Ross Montgomery books?
Would you like millions of little men and women living in your room?
Did you have any disastrous teachers growing up?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! I’d love to talk good/bad teachers!

S x

Oh happy day!

What’s making me smile at the minute?

Seeing my twiglets. Knowing my best friend is coming tomorrow. Bookish events. My friends. Cocktails and fajitos. Little people. Books. Tea. Having an incredibly supportive family. Going to the bingo. Easter holidays. Getting up with the sunshine. Finishing a notebook (IKR?!) Light evenings. Exciting emails. People believing in me. Chocolate. Going for a walk. Good morning texts. More books. Listening to the Sister Act 2 soundtrack. Going in to Starbucks and them knowing my order (ha!). Geordie books. Exciting opportunities. Following my dreams. The sunshine. Train travel. Going to the beach. Snapchat videos from my best friend. PRINCE ALIIIIIIIIIIIII. Cats. Sleep. Watching gymnastics. Seeing my friends succeed. Conversations with friends. More books. Always books. 

The Greatest Showman blog tag

Good morning!

Today, I am doing another fun tag. I was tagged by my gorgeous Kelly from Kelly’s Ramblings (you’ll find her post here) to do the Greatest Showman Book Tag. I’ve put on the soundtrack and now the serious thinking starts… (why don’t you stick on the soundtrack too?? It’s PROPERLY GOOD)

The Greatest Show: the greatest book you’ve ever read

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SO MANY BOOKS could win this mantle. But I’ve gone predictable. Matilda. I loved it as an 8 year old, I love it as a 29 year old. It’s so brilliant.

A Million Dreams: A book that left you dreaming after you finished it

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State of Sorrow. For real. Like, Mel writes so wonderfully that I want to go and live in Sorrow’s world for a little bit. I wouldn’t survive BUT I would like to live there, for a little bit. Then come back to lovely Newcastle.

Come Alive – A book where a character finally accept themselves:

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The last page of this book BREAKS MY HEART. But seeing Hedda accept this thing about herself was such an incredible arc.

The Other Side – A character who changes your opinion of them:

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You learn one side of this character through the history, then another side through the present telling of the story and I absolutely loved it. “Penny” is one of those endearing characters who stays with you for a while.

Never Enough – An author/series you could never get enough of:

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I love Sara Barnard books AN AWFUL LOT. She is yet to write something I don’t like. (Shout out here to Melinda Salisbury too… who we ALL KNOW I can’t get enough of her books!)

This Is Me – A book you love despite everyone hating it:

I don’t know that I have one? Shout books you hate at me, and I’ll tell you how I feel about it!

Rewrite The Stars – A bookish OTP that overcame a lot to finally be together:

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Oh man. I ship Amani and Jin together SO MUCH. (I also ship ME and Jin together, fyi). Jin is my TOTAL literary crush. I love him, a lot.

Tightrope – A book/series that gives you trust issues:

One of Us is Lying

I can’t tell you why. Just read it. Then we’ll talk.

From Now On – A book you’ve ignored for SO long, you need to read it ASAP:

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I know I KNOW. I will read them both. I do own them both. I promise.

(Sorry not sorry for the fact my bookish tags always include the same books and authors… I have my faves and that’s that!)

There you go! I loved doing this! I’m currently trying to devise a Friends themed book tag! If you’d like to do The Greatest Showman book tag, go for it!

S x

S4S – Fave books of 2018

Hello there!

It is yet again time for another #SixforSunday post. Who knew these weeks could fly so fast? I’ve had a week of half term so far. Lots of work to do though, so I can enjoy next week! There’s lots of exciting things happening next week! More on that in future blog posts.

Today’s #SixforSunday post is:

Favourite reads of 2018 so far

Now, I’d like to preface this with a disclaimer:

I read State of Sorrow, Goodbye Perfect and The Exact Opposite of Okay in 2017, so it would be cheating to include these. But if you’ve not read them, you should. They are incredible 2018 releases. 

  1. 1000 Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews
    Heartbreaking, powerful and emotive. I read a proof of this and I can not stop thinking about it.
  2. The Nowhere Emporium – Ross Mackenzie
    This isn’t a 2018 release, but I read it in 2018. It is just so magical. I want to forget it and reread it because I loved it so much.
  3. The Wicked Deep – Shea Ernshaw 
    Delicious, deceptive and dark. Just BRILLIANT (check out my review: BOOK BLOG: Shea Ernshaw)
  4. Hero at the Fall – Alwyn Hamilton
    Oh Jin. Swoon, but seriously, this series is BRILLIANT. Check out my review: BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton)
  5. Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy
    Properly good adventure. I can’t wait for more.
  6. When the Mountains Roared – Jess Butterworth
    This is a BRILLIANT story. Conservationism and friendship. Kids are loving it!

I’ve read so many great books so far in 2018, I can’t wait for the rest of the year! 

What have your favourite books of 2018 been so far? Don’t forget to share using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I look forward to reading your posts!

S x

Bookish events

One of the most amazing parts of being a blogger is going along to bookish events. Bookish events are an incredible opportunity to meet other bloggers, publishers, authors – all of the amazing book people that the book community is filled with.

Now don’t get me wrong, book events can be pretty scary if you’re going for the first time, if you’re going on your own, if you have to travel far to get to them, if you don’t feel like you know anyone… I know that. My anxiety levels when I went to UKYACX (one of my first ever bookish events) will attest to that, but once you’re at the event, your nerves will hopefully subside.

Bookish people are like none other. I’m yet to go to an event where I don’t feel welcome. It’s amazing the amount of people who are there who are just as nervous as you are. There’s no shame in that whatsoever. It’s exciting and scary. But it’s all of these emotions that make it even more of a buzz. 

In the coming months, there are some VERY exciting bookish events coming up that I am attending that I thought I would share with you all. See if you can make them and then pop along too! If you need a friendly face, I am always around to say hello! Tell your twitter friends that you’re going too – there’s bound to be someone you know going. Knowing someone at an event is always a lot more fun!

Next week brings 2 very exciting events… one of which I am TERRIFIEDEXCITEDNERVOUS for; one which I am quite looking forward to because books, authors, my best people and blogger get togethers.

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Event number 1 sees the joining of 2 of my absolute favourite authorsMelinda Salisbury and Alice Broadway. For those who do not know, they are the authors of the incredible Ink/Spark and The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy/State of Sorrow. They’re both coming North on Wednesday 11th April at 7pm at Waterstones Newcastle to talk of rebellion and rule breaking. As well as incredible young women, world building and other such incredible things.

This promises to be an incredible event… I mean. Possibly. I KNOW the authors will be wonderful and brilliant. I’m not sure about the chair person *wink*. Yours truly is chairing, and I’m not entirely sure HOW this is my life. WHY AM I BEING TRUSTED WITH THESE INCREDIBLE AUTHORS? WHY ARE THEY LETTING ME DO IT AGAIN? (I have chaired one panel at Waterstones Newcastle this year already, it was SUCH FUN). Like, it BLOWS MY MIND that I’ve been asked to chair an event with my 2 of my favourite ever authors. So yes…

Please come along if you can! 7pm on Wednesday 11th April (next Wednesday… I am NOT ready ha!) Tickets are available online: clicky clicky or in store! £3 for 2 authors! BARGAIN. There will be a signing after too. I love a signing!

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YA Shot logo

Event number 2 happens later in the very same week! I shall be turfing myself off to Londres to go to YAShot! YA Shot is a one-day annual festival based in the centre of Uxbridge (just on the outside of London). The event takes place on Saturday 14th April. Over 50 authors are involved. There are workshops, panels and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops as part of the UKYA Blogger Awards in the evening.

Like the Newcastle event, there’s moments in this where I am like HOW IS THIS MY LIFE? I will be involved in an “Ask A Blogger” session (6:30-6:55pm) with two of my fellow Northern bloggers, Charlotte and Rebecca! WHY IS THIS A THING? Who wants my advice? HAHA. Seriously. But come along if you’re there! We will have a lovely chat about blogging.

On top of all of this, I have also been shortlisted (ME SHORTLISTED HAHAHAHA) for Best Newcomer in the UKYABAs. I’m up against some pretty tough competition, so am not holding my breath. I’m not entirely sure HOW this happened. How I’m up for an award is beyond me. If you nominated me, in any stage of the process, then I would absolutely love to hug you (so please shout if you feel confident!)

So yes… YAShot. Tickets are £20/£15 concessions and are available here!. If you want to know more about the programme, check out the link here! Some very interesting talks on!

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The third and final event I am currently attending this year is none other than the incredible YALC. I had SUCH A BLAST last year. It was TERRIFYING. But it was just brilliant. YALC solidified my “I’ve found my people” stance on the book community!

YALC is the UK’s Young Adult Literature Convention – a celebration of the very best young adult books and authors. YALC takes place each year as part of the London Film and Comic Con. It’s held across a whole weekend. It runs in the same building (but on a completely different floor to) as Comic Con. Last year there were some incredible cosplayers! I’m going down for the whole weekend, spending it with some of my absolute best friends, and I can’t wait. YALC is just one of those “omg you’re ________ from twitter, aren’t you?” kinds of events and it was so lush last year. I met so many of my twitter pals, I fangirled over some of my twitter gods (sorry Lucy/Grace/Hux) and met so many incredible authors.

Closer to the event I’m going to post my “YALC hints and tips” post! Reflecting on last year made me think of a few things for going back a second year! 

Tickets are available for single days, or for all 3 days! You’ll find them all here.

And that’s it! Those are the book events I’m so far booked up for this year!

Have you got any book events lined up?
Are there any book events you’d like to go to?
What’s your dream book event?

Talk to me in the comments or on twitter! Don’t be scared to tell me you’re coming along. I’ll say hello if I know you’re coming!

S x