YALC goodness

Hello friends!

Here we are, 2 weeks after YALC, and my gosh. I still don’t think I’m quite over the introvert hangover. I can’t be the only person who really needs to like be ALONE after weekends like this, can I?

For all, yes, YALC is exhausting, it’s also wonderful.
It’s bookish goodness for 3 days.
It’s friends who you don’t get to see very often.
It’s putting names to faces that you’ve only seen in their tiny little twitter face.
It’s standing in lines to meet your favourite authors.
It’s finding people who love the same books as you.
It’s telling authors that you loved their book so much it made them cry.
It’s speaking to publicists who have been so lovely and generous.
It’s learning about new books and finding new authors.
It’s seeing those people who you always get to see at these kinds of events.
It’s fangirling over that one person who you follow online, who you try and be all cool about and just end up being all shy and coy (lol, if you know me, YOU KNOW THIS). 

So anyway… I thought I’d wrap up MY YALC experience because as we know everyone has their own experience and everyone experiences it differently.

I had a quieter YALC this year than I’ve had in the past – there weren’t as many panels I wanted to sit and listen to and there weren’t as many books I needed to be signed as I’ve had in the past (which is good because it meant less queuing and less carrying of heavy books!). There were things I was DYING to see and people I was dying to meet, but I was glad of a quieter YALC.

Panels

I got the chance to sit in on some wonderful panels this year, from interesting insights into the world of toxic masculinity, fantasy, new voices (always one of my favourite panels) to social media in YA, it was all covered this year. It’s always lovely to see some faves again (shout outs to Queen Mel, Sara Barnard, Laura Steven, Bethany Rutter and Dhonielle Clayton, who is a hilarious chair) and meet some new faces, whose books I’ve either read or am planning on reading. It was great to finally meet Bex Hogan (Viper – a wonderful book, you should all read it NOW), Sarah Maria Griffin (who is hilarious), Yasmin Rahman (whose book I immediately ran and bought, and then consumed in a matter of hours on my train home) and Samuel Pollen (The Year I Didn’t Eat, which destroyed me).

I love the broad range of panels that you can go and sit in on at YALC – there’s always something for everyone!

Bookish fun

One of the best things about YALC is of course the bookish fun that can happen. I didn’t take as many pictures of the stalls and things this year (I guess I was having too much fun to!) but I always love how each of the publishers themes their stalls. The Penguin stall has amazing books which could be turned around so you could see the blurb on the back; Usborne had a WONDERFULLY bright stall and Scholastic’s stall was all seaside themed. The Walker YA stall had a hilarious “How you’re going to die” Scythe themed wheel, and when I spun it, apparently I’m going to die falling down a manhole while reading a book – it seems likely to be honest.

While I was at YALC, I managed to pick up samplers for 3 of the books I’m most excited for (you can find out all about those in a week or so when I do my #SamplerSunday blog post!): Melinda Salisbury’s Hold Back The Tide, David Owen’s Grief Angels and Laura Steven’s The Love Hypothestis. I am not going to lie… I had tunnel vision to get these. The publishers ran out of the samplers in the first two days, so I was CHUFFED when I managed to get my hands on them. (LBR for a sec, the first thing I did when I got into YLC was run to the Scholastic stand and get a Hold Back The Tide: I know where my priorities lie!)

I love that since I’m around bookish people I get to spend a lot of time reading. On the train down, I read The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (Disney World meets dark, dystopian robot land) while my friend Charlotte read Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I also got quite a lot of reading done in the YALC house too. I was very lucky to be sharing an AirBnB with 4 of my favourite bookish humans, so it meant for plenty of reading time. I got all of The Kingdom read and then got through Evernight by Ross Mackenzie too (this was BLOODY BRILLIANT, again more on that next week). On the train back to the homeland, I read All The Things We Never Said by Yashmin Rahman (which I had picked up having heard Yasmin talk about it and I needed it) as Charlotte read Slay by Kim Curran (a book I adore… it’s such fun!)

Something else which I love about YALC and the stalls is that they’re almost always interactive. There was one this year about which superpower you’d have, who you’d like to be stranded on a jellyfish with and random others. My favourite one was from My Kinda Book to link in with the release of No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter (we all know I love this book, if you haven’t preordered it yet, please do, Bethany is a doll and this book is SO SO SO SO SO GOOD). The gorgeous pink hearts you can see are messages of encouragement people were leaving for strangers. Standing reading some of them gave me a proper lump in my throat: people can be so compassionate and kind. Some of them were hilarious too!

YALC always hosts a ton of workshops too and these can range from crafty, to chats, to writing workshops with authors and they’re always really well attended. I don’t go to many, in fact this year was only the second time I’d ever attended a workshop (I think!). Akemi Dawn Bowman (author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue) had a workshop this year about self care and we had the chance to create an anxiety bracelet, so Charlotte and I tottled off to make bracelets. It was so lovely to just sit and be calm and creative in what had been a busy day of bookish goodness. We both created rainbow bracelets and I am still wearing mine now!

For anyone who follows YALC on twitter, you know that there is always a special guest appearance of a celeb or two who are just passing through. My firt year it was Benedict Cumberbatch; last year it was Jason Momoa, and again, this year, Momoa appeared. It’s always funny seeing these super famous celebs just sauntering on the YALC floor. I think I might’ve even spotted a few other celebs who were checking out the YALC floor at a fee points over the weekend. (And yes, Momoa is as gorgeous in real life as he appears).

#TakeawayYA

#TakeawayYA is not a staple of YALC: it is a tradition of me and my friends! #TakeawayYA was a hashtag started by my friends Cora, Kelly and I at our first YALC house 3 years ago and it’s something that has just STUCK. People always comment about how hilarious it is. It’s basically just me and my friends sharing the takeaway that we’re having. I love that we’ve created this daft tradition that is sticking around and I hope itstick around for years! (If you search the hashtag on twitter, you should get a few years worth of takeaways ha!)

And I think that’s it for my YALC experience. There is a whole lot more to say. I have a whole list of thank yous to say, but I have one of my ‘Letters to…’ coming up to say thank you to some people, so keep tuned for that in the coming weeks!

If you have any questions about YALC, or about what I got up to at YALC, please holler at me, I know everyone’s experience is different and I’d be more than happy to talk about my experience. I can’t talk for everyone! 

If you’re interested in my experiences from past YALC conventions, check out my posts YALC highlights (2018) , YALC #1 (2017)  and YALC #2 (2017).

Speak to you all soon,

S x

 

NYA Lit Fest

On Saturday, I had the utter joy of going to Preston for the second year of the NYA Literature Festival. (We’ll forgive the fact I had to be up at 5am and that there was some SERIOUS train anxiety going around coming home… I did get home at the time I was expecting, do not fear!) 

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I did a blog post a few weeks ago about all of the panels, and it was even better than I thought it could possibly be! It was a jam packed day of my favourite authors, some brilliant blogger friends and just a lush environment of book love!

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When we got to Preston, we got to the venue (a change from the venue last year and a massively better venue!) and were promptly given a stamp and told to go and have a root around. We went straight to the first panel, which saw Will Hill and M.A Bennett talking all things thriller books! That was a great panel to hear Will and M.A talk about their books and what they think makes a good thriller book. Exciting news when they both filled us in on the fact that there will be 5 S.T.A.G.S books and Will told us the synopis for his new bookdrug cartel, Mexican city and a missing family member. I’m looking forward to this massively!

If you haven’t read After The Fire, then PLEASE DO. It is incredible. I have prompty added STAGS to my TBR list!

Next up was one of the panels that I was most excited for: Feminism in Fantasy featuring some of my absolute favourites. Melinda Salisbruy (duh!) was chairing the panel featuring (the absolutely gorgeous) Laure Eve, (always brilliant) Samantha Shannon and debut author Rose Edwards. What ensued was an incredible talk all about feminism in fantasy, the different ways it is shaped and some great moments. A particular highlight was when someone asked the old “strong female character” question – many laughs were had around the room (for those who aren’t sure about this, check out Samantha Shannon’s twitter… she has THOUGHTS about this trope!) Promptly after this panel, I had to go and say hi to Mel (as usual, she had one of the longest signing queues!) 

I would whole heartedly reading anything by Mel, The Graces and The Curses by Laure Eve and, if you’re looking for something pretty epic, The Priory of the Orange Tree will keep you busy for a while! I’ve added The Harm Tree by Rose to my TBR too!

After the signing, it was time for a little spot of lunch. A massive change from the last time I was at NYA Lit Fest was that the university cafeteria was open, so we were able to have some food! I had the curry and it was delicious. Once I’d finished my lunch, I managed to sneak into the Inclusivity panel with the brilliant Aimee Felone – of Knights Of fame – talking to a fantastic mix of authors about all things diversity and inclusivity. It was fascinating listening to Non Pratt, Mel Darbon, Bali Rai and A.J.Hartley talking about their books and the issues their books deal with.

I would definitely recommend picking up Non’s books – they’re just so brilliant. After this panel, I’ve added a few books on my “to borrow” list from the library!

The second last panel of the day was brilliantly name Shame-less in YA. The gorgeous (and very pregnant) Katherine Webber was chatting with Laura Steven, Tamsin Winter and Melvin Burgess about all things shame. Shame is such a complex emotion, so it’s brilliant that it’s discussed in books in different and interesting stories in YA. I really enjoyed listening to the different interpretations of shame in their books. It was so insightful listening to the different authors talk about how their characters deal with shame and what it means to be “shamed”. One of my favourite takeaways from this panel was that (as Katherine Webber rightly said) we need two different words: one for shame the innocent feel and one for the shame that the guilty SHOULD feel. 

Again, I would COMPLETELY recommend both of Katie’s YA books (Wing Jones and Only Love Can Bread Your Heart) and you DEFINITELY need to get on The Exact Opposite of Okay and A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven. 

The final panel of the day came about and I was not ready for how emotional it would make me feel. Lisa Williamson was chatting with Sara Barnard, Alice Broadway, Akemi Dawn Bowman and Alexandra Sheppard about mental health in YA. I loved that there was representation for fantasy books, contemporary books and funny books on this one panel – so often we think of only contemporary books talking about mental health. This panel was just exceptional: talking about authors mental health, the importance of normalising the talk about mental health and the representation for everyone in books. I definitely did a little cry during this panel.

I’d recommend ALL OF THE BOOKS from these authors. I could be here a while listing them… so go and treat yourself. There’s something from all of these authors for everything! 

After this panel, there was one last signing and then we trotted off to the train station to catch out (very delayed) train home!

A massive massive congraulations to the organisers for this event. It was run so brilliantly and I was SO SO HAPPY to see so many of my favourite authors and some of my favourite bookish people in the same building! I can’t wait to see what the next NYA Lit Fest will look like! Bring it on!

Did you attend NYA Lit Fest?
What’s your dream panel to listen to?
If you could organise a bookish event, what would it be?

Talk to me! (Well done for getting though all 1000 words of this! You deserve a star!)

S x

CHCC YA Bookish Joy Blog Fest!

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Hey everyone! 

Today I have the abolsute joy of kicking off the CHCC YA Bookish Joy Blog Fest: a blog tour which will see some of my favourite bloggers celebrating everything they love about books. When I was initially asked to be on this blog tour, it was pitched to me as “write a letter to someone who made you the bookish you you are” and I was SOLD. I’ve toyed between writing to my favourite author (I give you 3 guesses as to who I would write to), my favourite main character (again, I bet you could guess… or maybe not!), my parents, the kids I teach (this would’ve made me cry, a lot!) and so many other options. I’ve decided however to write a letter to books. It sounds a bit weird, but I hope my letter will explain what I mean!

Dear books,

Yep, those things you pick up, open and read the words. That’s what I’m writing a letter to. Books are magical. Have you ever picked one up and been transported somewhere new? In the space of the past few weeks, I’ve been living with Greek Gods, lived in a lighthouse during WW2, lived in magical London where Big Ben is the keeper of time and I’ve even lived a story through the eyes of an African Grey parrot. Where else can you be transported to these places but in books? Where else can you learn about empathy and living life through someone else’s eyes other that in books? 

Books are not only a unique mode of transportation, but they can be transformational. They have the power to cheer up, sadden, inspire, motivate, anger. You will read a book in your life that changes your life. That will connect you to yourself and to others. I’m very lucky that I’ve had so many books and people in my life that have made me a better person. I can’t imagine my life without the bookish love in it. My friends, some of my very best friends, have come my way because of books.

I read Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive at a pretty down part in my life and it had such a profound impact on me. That might be cliched, but it’s true – it’s one of those special books. 

Books are such a massive part of my life: as a teacher, as a human, as a blogger. I just think there’s something very special and magical about them. I believe there’s the perfect book out there for everyone. I’ve seen kids’ attitudes to reading change entirely once they read “that” book. 

As Roald Dahl put it in Matilda (yep, of course I’m quoting Matilda… sue me!)
“These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” 

So books, thank you. For making me who I am. For giving me the people in my life that I am so eternally grateful for. For making me laugh, cry and be moved. 

S x 

If you’d like to go along to the CHCC YA Festival, you can get tickets from here. There are some amazing authors lined up this year and it promises to be a brilliant day! Even more excitingly, there’s a 10% code for you, my loyal readers! Go get your tickets and enter YAFEST10 – valid until 28th Feb for a one time use! Go forth and purchase!

Go check out the rest of the blog tour in the coming days! You’re in for a real treat. 

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.

img_2080(look at me casually hanging about on the poster… I am FINE *Ross Gellar voice*) 

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

 

 

NYALitFest

This past weekend, I attended a bookish event in the North. Listen again, A BOOKISH EVENT IN THE NORTH. (I know, I know, they’re becoming more frequent BUT IT’S SO NICE TO BE SOMEWHAT NORTH AND CELEBRATING THE BOOKS).

I was attending Northern YA Literature Festival, which was held at the University of Central Lancashire. It promised to be an interesting day, filled with incredible talks and even more amazing authors. Big shout out to my friends Charlotte and Cora for putting up with ALL DAY. Loved spending the day with #NorthernBookBloggers too!

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First up was a great chat about getting into published. Anna Day, Teri Terry and Danny Weston chatted all about their routes into publishing, writing and gave out some pretty stellar advice! 

“You don’t need to study creative writing to be a writer!” – Teri Terry
“Read your work aloud” – Danny Weston
“Get someone else to read it and give you feedback” – Teri Terry
“I get my dad to proof read your work” – Anna Day (this caused quite a giggle… with the rest of the panel asking how much he would charge!)

Next up was Feminism in YAa talk I had been REALLY looking forward to hearing! There was a surprise little 5 minutes from Laura Steven (author of the incredible The Exact Opposite of Okay), who retold the famous Monopoly board story (if you’ve not heard it, hit me up!) and talked about feminism in her book (it’s brilliant, please read it!). She introduced Katherine Webber, Matt Killeen, Annabel Pitcher and Lauren James. It was a brilliant panel talking about what it means to be a feminist and why we need to keep talking about the issue.

“You can’t be a bad feminist” – Katherine Webber
“Being a feminist means giving people the freedom to do whatever it is they want to do” – Annabel Pitcher
“Feminism in The Loneliest Girl came from feeling like an imposter during my science degree” – Lauren James
“If you want something, it’s OK to ask for it” – Katherine Webber
“You don’t have to write every day to be a writer” – Lauren James

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Next up came Alwyn Hamilton, who was originally going to just talk to us about the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, which I love BTW, but she managed to convince Samantha Shannon to come on stage and ask her a few questions! I could’ve listened to Alwyn talk about Rebel for hours. It’s a series I love…A LOT. 

“Not knowing the ending to your book is like reading a map without knowing your destination” – Samantha Shannon
“When wrtiting, don’t think about it being original, think about it as being creative” – Alwyn Hamilton
“Use your background, knowledge and passion to help you with your ideas” – Alwyn Hamilton

The final event of the day was Samantha Shannon chairing a talk with Holly Black, who I must say has the most incredible hair ever. Her passion for fairy tales and faerie spurred me on and I definitely will check out The Cruel Prince now. The highlight of this chat was most definitely Holly talking to us about her favourite fairy tale: the White Cat. The entire audience was gripped! A funny, interesting and charming chat. I really enjoyed it! 

“Never astral project” – excellent advice from Holly Black’s mam
“Getting the right name for your characters can give them a completeness and just feel right” – Holly Black

Take a peek at some of my other personal highlights of the day: drinking a Desperados in the train station, watching Melinda Salisbury’s unboxing of FairyLoot, chips in the train station, Taken Moons candles, chocolate and having reserved, front row seats like VIPs!

Thanks for dropping by! NYALit Fest was SO SO GOOD. I can’t wait for next year!

S x

 

Events!

Last week, during half term, the gorgeous people of Waterstones Newcastle brought to us 2 of my favourite authors: Holly Bourne and Tom Fletcher. 

Now it’s not very often we get authors in the North so often, so I was VERY happy when I found out they’d both be here! 

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Holly Bourne was here promoting her newest YA book – It Only Happens in the Movies. During the event there was a brilliant talk hosted by the gorgeous Katie Thistleton who asked many brilliant questions. Holly said some brilliant things about how YA books have a responsibility to be honest and how she feels like she needs to speak the truth in her books. She also mentioned how her writing process is heavily influenced through her work for charities which deal with giving people relationship advice. I think it’s brilliant that Holly is using her platform to inform teens, without being preachy.

After the talk there were games! I love a game. There was a quick quiz and then a few rounds of ‘Kiss, Marry, Kill’ – which is always a fun game to play!! (If you’ve any Kiss, Marry, Kill options for me, I would love to host a blog post using them all, tweet me or leave a comment with suggestions!) There was a Q&A with the audience too, where I tried to get some ‘Floored’ hints from Holly, but she remained tight lipped. The event was rounded off with a signing too!

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A massive shout out to the organisers for the goodie bags too! Another thing I loved about the event was that the price of the ticket for the event was redeemable against the book. This is SUCH a great idea, I’d love to see more events following this principal in future! The event was brilliant and it was so good to see such a good turn out for the event too! A few of the other #NorthernBookBloggers had managed to make the event too which was excellent. It’s always nice to get together with friends to talk about books. 

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Later on in the week, I finally got to meet the absolutely wonderful Tom Fletcher. He was in Newcastle as part of his promotional book tour for ‘The Creakers’ which I was lucky enough to get a proof copy and I loved it! It is so perfect for kids! A brilliant tale of adventure, fun and a bit of spookiness thrown in too. When I heard Tom was coming to Newcastle, I knew I needed to be there! I was worried I was going to be the only adult there, but there were more adults in the line than there were children, so that fear was a bit daft in hindsight! 

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I got there about 40 minutes before the event started and there was already quite the queue! The staff of Waterstones were lovely and kept checking everyone was ok, and once the queue was moving it moved quite quickly! Meeting Tom was lovely. He’s just so lush. He’s exactly the same as the person you see in his vlogs and things (he isn’t technically a Youtuber, but he is one of my faves to watch). As we waited in the queue, it was lovely to see that he was spending a little bit of time with each fan, not just signing and then that was it. I got my books addressed to my class, so that when I have my own class they can go in my class library and the kids can enjoy them! I told him all about how “Santa” sent my kids The Christmasaurus last year and he thought that was a lovely idea. It was so lovely to meet him and tell him how much I enjoyed his books. The people who were with him were lovely too! The photo lady took loads of pictures, so thank you lovely woman! 

Last week was a good week. I hope lots more events happen in the North East! Thank you Usborne, Puffin and Waterstones Newcastle for hosting such brilliant events!

S x

S4S – YALC authors

It’s Sunday. It’s YALC. I’m excited.

It’s Sunday. It’s #SixforSunday time!

Last week I posted about books that I’m excited for at YALC, this week I’m talking: 

Six authors I am excited to meet at YALC

  1. Melinda Salisbury 
  2. Sara Barnard
  3. Alice Broadway
  4. Holly Bourne
  5. Will Hill
  6. Katie Webber

I have met some of these authors before at other events, but some I have not.

It goes without saying that I am excited for ALL OF THE YALC. But these authors and their books have a special place in my heart!

Who are you most excited to meet?
Which panels must you not miss?
How are you feeling now that YALC is almost over?

Let me know in the comments, or use the hashtag #SixforSunday on twitter! I would love to see who you’re all excited for!

S x

S4S – YALC books

Hello!

It’s Sunday again! How exciting! This week’s #SixforSunday theme is:

YALC books

Books that make me excited for YALC. Authors I am excited to meet.

  1. Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury (BOOKBLOG: Queen Mel)
  2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard)
  3. Ink – Alice Broadway (BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY)
  4. Truth or Dare – Non Pratt
  5. The Call – Paedar O’Guilin (BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín)
  6. Traitor To The Throne – Alwyn Hamilton (BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton 2)

I talk about most of these books ALL of the time, but I can’t wait to see these authors for the first time/for the next time and tell them how much I love their book. I love all of the books. There are so many other books I am excited to YALC for. 

Are you coming to YALC?
What are your favourite YALC books?
Who are you excited to meet?

If you wanna join in use the hashtag #SixforSunday, I would love to see your posts!!

S x

BOOKMAS: Sarah Govett

During my amazing October trip to London for YAShot 2016 I was lucky enough to get talking to the amazing author Sarah Govett! We made arrangements to do something together for my blog and here we are and it’s featuring in my lovely blogmas!! 

I was also lucky enough that Sarah sent me a copy of both of her books to read through and I have to say I properly devoured them

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The Territory trilogy… there are 2 books released at the minute but the third one is on its way! 

The Territory
“In the not-to-distant future earth’s surface has been drastically reduced, as the rising sea levels encroach on the land. The space and resources that remain have to be earned, and in The Territory this means all children must sit the TAA exams. Those who pass can stay and those who fail must make it alone in the inhospitable, disease infested Wetlands. Noa and her friends, Daisy and Jack, are ‘Norms’, meaning they have to study the old-fashioned way, while the rich children, or ‘Childes’, have a node on their neck that allows them to simply download all the information they need. With the exams looming Noa meets Raf, the boy with one green eye and one blue. Despite being a Childe he is not haughty or cruel, and Noa finds herself falling for him at the worst possible time.”

The Territory 2: Escape
“The second book in this acclaimed environmental dystopia series, Escape picks up where The Territory, left off. It follows teens Noa and Raf as they infiltrate the Wetlands – a kind of swampy penal colony, rife with disease and crime – to rescue their friend Jack, who has been sent there for failing the exams that all teens must take at age 15. Noa’s mad about Raf, but there’s also a reason she’s so desperate to save Jack, too.”

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These books came at a time for me when I stopped reading dystopian novels but in reading them I remember what it is I love so much about dystopian YA novels – they are dark, brutal, but grippingly gorgeous. They are the kind of books you DON’T want to put down because you want to know what is coming next! Another thing I really loved about these books is that they were very true to the real life of being a teenager… exams, stress, decisions and pressure. The characters in these books have some very big decisions, some very big tests and some intense pressure on their young shoulders. I may be an adult but it is incredible to look back and think ‘yep, I’ve been there‘!

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Sarah’s writing style is right up my street. These two books are so beautifully written that you don’t realise you’re reading and reading and reading. It just makes sense. The flow is beautiful, the phrasing works so well… it just worked. Sometimes I find (especially with dystopian novels) that you can get lost in the world and it be a dark and brutal world so that the story works, but the way these books were written the world is very real and very much true – you don’t need to imagine it being real because it is written so well that it IS real. 

The characters were really honest and real too. For me what makes a good book a great book is the characters. If you either love or hate them, stories and the people in the stories should make you FEEL because people in your real life make you feel. They all felt like they could be me, or that they could be my friends. You feel their pains, their stresses whilst going through these horrible test to decide if they’re going to stay alive or be killed – I mean C’MON who should have to sit a test like this?! 

I don’t want to give too much away in my review, I want everyone to discover the books for themselves. Enjoy the story for themselves, fall for the characters and feel their pain for themselves. I think you’ll all love this!! 

Thank you so much to Sarah for sending me these books to read and review! They were an absolute delight! If you want to follow Sarah I’ll leave her links below:

Keep your eyes peeled on my blog over the next few days for an amazing Q&A that Sarah agreed to do with me! Thanks so much to the lovely Sarah for agreeing to this!! 

S xx

YAShot 2016: Pt 1

The day FINALLY came. I was London bound! (I had the Reception bear, Betty, in tow with me and we were off!) Jumped on the train after work on Friday and zoomed off to London. I knew that a few of the blogger friends I had made were going to be there so as well as sheet elation at the idea of all of the authors being there I was excited to put names to the faces I’d been talking to all these months online! The bookish community has been nothing but welcoming of me since I decided to join their wonderful corner of the world!

On Friday when I got to London I just hoofed it on over to the Travelodge in Uxbridge (very nice I must say… ever need a place to stay in Uxbridge Travelodge is your man!). I knew that Cora was going to be staying at the Travelodge too so I managed to meet up with her for a glass of wine on the Friday night! After a long day a glass of wine was MUCH needed.

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Then came the big day… SATURDAY. YASHOT. I was excited. I didn’t know what to do, where to go or ANYTHING. Luckily Uxbridge is comprised of a pretty bog standard high street and I was told that I just needed to go up the high street… et voila! I picked up my gloriously glittery wrist band and then got the meet Lizzie and Darren (two of my twitterers) who were selling books for Waterstones! There’s something quite surreal about meeting online people for the first time in real life… but it is awesome! I managed to withstand buying ALL OF THE BOOKS and got my paws on Holly Bourne’s ‘…And A Happy New Year!’ which I was absolutely shocked to see, but absolutely made up! I also bought Laure Eve’s ‘The Graces’, which I have heard SO MUCH GOOD about that I needed it for myself!

Uxbridge Civic Centre was the actual holding place for some of the events. Within this there was an incredible quiet area. I loved the idea of this, for those of us who get over stimulated and need 5 minutes from the rest of the world! All of the locations were given bookish names: Ministry of Magic, Narnia, Wonderland and Middle Earth. Excellent choices all round.

Waterstones Uxbridge and I have been tweeting back and forth for months now and I happened to spend most of my day in there! I must say it was so calm and chill and the staff were so helpful. There just seemed to be books for days. Now yes, I know it’s a bookshop but it just seemed to flow beautifully. Props to you Waterstones Uxbridge.

The first event I went to was hosted by Hayley Long and Rosie Rowell, who talked about discovering yourself. It was fascinating to hear these two talk about their different books and the backgrounds for them. There’s quite a stark difference between South Africa and Brussels! They both drew me in for different reasons and talked about the importance of representing the culture in which you’re writing for, and how freeing it is when you’re writing for something you know first hand and have experienced your whole life. I hadn’t read either of their books but Hayley’s book with the secret code was one which went straight to my ‘to buy’ pile! They spent some time talking about their writing process with Rosie saying she starts with dialogue,  which helps her characters grow, from which the setting comes out.

After that I stayed in Waterstones to hear Laure Eve and Anna McKerrow talk ‘Practical Magic’. Both of their books were very inspired by the film and both books have many elements of magic in them. Again I hadn’t read either of these books but that’s the great thing about these events – they open your eyes to so so many new books that you may not have heard of. I had heard so much about The Graces via my twitter folk and had bought it that morning (and have since started it!) so hearing her talk about it was awesome. I think this talk was one of my favourites of the day. The ladies talked magic, love potions, Charmed and Buffy. I asked them which sister they would choose to be from Charmed and Laure said ‘Prue’ and Anna said ‘Piper’. Things that I love about events like this is you learn so much about the authos as people, they’re not just robots who sit and churn out books. These two women were a delight to listen to, we laughed a lot! I didn’t want it to end. If you ever get the chance to see them either separately or together then do! And buy their books!

The final one of the day before I ran away to have something to eat was one that I’d been waiting for a LONG LONG time… Rescuers: children saving adults with Peter Bunzl and Kiran Milwood Hargrave. Now I probably don’t need to say this to anyone but I love kids books as much as I love YA, as much as I love adult fiction but ‘Cogheart’ and ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ are two of my favourite MG books of the recent past. If you have children in your life then please buy these books and get them to read them, or read them to your children… you will not regret it. I’ve been tweeting Kiran for months, ever since I finished GOIAS and I’d not had the fortune of meeting her til Saturday, and the same with Peter. Their event was lovely. They both gushed about the other’s book and answered questions from a hat. Before the event started we were given a piece of paper to write down any questions we had and to pop them in the hat – I loved this. It made us feel included and it isn’t as pressured as putting your hand up in a Q&A. I loved listening to these two people talk about their books and the other’s book too. We even got some sneak peek details about their new books that are coming out! I am super excited. Like the event with Laure and Anna this event comes easily in my top events of the day. It was so incredible to finally meet two authors whose work I’ve admired from afar for so long. I even got my copies of their books signed.

After the excitement of those 3 events I had about 50 minutes to fill, so I scarpered out of the signing room to get something to eat and to go back to the hotel to drop off the books I had already had signed because they WEIGHED A TON.

Come back tomorrow to see what I got up to the rest of the day!

Wanna follow some of the people I mentioned in this post?
– Cora: BlogTwitter
– Waterstones Uxbridge: Twitter
– Kiran Milwood Hargrave: TwitterWebsite
– Peter Bunzl: TwitterWebsite
– Laure Eve: TwitterWebsite
– Anna McKerrow: WebsiteTwitter
– Rosie Rowell: Twitter

S x