Another Together and Another Beginning Review

Another Together and Another Beginning are two short novellas both set in the world of The Next Together following the main characters from The Next Together and The Last Beginning respectively. These novellas are companion novels of a sort, they don’t hold any information vital to the story but provide us with more adventures from these characters and let us get to know them a bit better. I have thoughts on each and as they’re only short I decided to put them together in one review. If you’ve read The Next Together series I highly recommend checking these ebooks out! Even better at the time of writing both of these novellas are free on the kindle via Amazon right now.

Links for Another Together.Another Beginning.

Warning: As these are companion novels there may be light spoilers in for the two full novels in these reviews. If you’ve read only The Next Together you can still read Another Together but I would highly recommend reading The Last Beginning before reading Another Beginning.

30335136Another Together by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published June 2nd 2016 by Walker

“Are you absolutely certain this is safe?” Matthew Galloway asked.

A short story of intrigue and murder set in the world of The Next Together series. Winter, 1940: there is a murderer on the loose at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain’s most daring codebreaking operation against the Nazis. Can two young codebreakers Kitty and Matthew catch the killer? This standalone short story can be enjoyed by new readers and existing fans of Lauren James’s The Next Together series.

After finishing the two main books in this series I had already decided Matthew and Katherine Galloway were couple goals and possibly one of my favourite “ships” because I love the feel of their relationship with each other and how they always fall in love. As a result I’m pretty sure I could read a hundred more novela like this, experiencing more of their “incarnations” throughout history, this particular one however is mentioned a couple of times in the main books themselves and was a logical choice for the basis of a short story.

It was nice to read the goings on in Another Together without also trying to work out what exactly is going on (with their other selves throughout time etc) as I waited to read this until I’d read both full books and I could honestly just devour an entire book of their different adventures and lives. The chemistry between the two is spot on as always and really captures the same spirit which kept me voraciously flicking through pages whenever I got the chance.

The plot itself is interesting and has a great little well rounded mystery within that I found really satisfying and very enjoyable to read. Can we get a Kat and Matt mystery series now please?

 

35716697Another Beginning by Lauren James

Rating: XXXX

Published July 29th 2017 by Walker

“Elenore Walker, ancient literature thief. It makes an odd sort of sense, actually,” Clove said.

Featuring the much-loved protagonists Clove and Ella, Another Beginning is a companion story to The Last Beginning, set during the siege of Carlisle in 1745.

Clove is working as a maid in the Finchley household while she spies on Katherine Finchley and Matthew Galloway. But her mission is briefly interrupted when fellow maid Ella persuades her to help steal a valuable historical document from the main defence in the city – the castle. The two girls embark on a risky adventure involving scaling castle walls and hiding in the most unlikely of places!

A fast-paced and fun read, perfect for Lauren James’s existing fans, and readers who enjoy historical fiction and romance

Another Beginning made me really happy. I found the way Ella treated Clove in The Last Beginning a bit abhorrent at times and infuriating at others, especially in comparison to Matt and Kate. I wonder now if this is because we didn’t see much down time with Clove and Ella, not to mention their relationship is the strangest kind of long distance and probably a little confusing for both of them. This novela however is a lovely side to their relationship before things get complicated, just two girls who obviously have crushes on each other planning and executing a heist inside a castle during a siege, what could go wrong?

As with Another Together I think without the pressure of the main storyline we are more free to see the characters better and without complications. This novella has given me a better appreciation for the infamous Clove Sutcliffe and the Mysterious love of her life Ella. It was nice to see their interactions outside of trying to save the world and the timeline, not to mention I’m glad Ella is a giant book nerd despite her year of birth. Can we please now have another story about the two of them trying to scout out and save the library of Alexandria?

Sadly this marks the end of the of my Lauren James binge until The Quiet at the End Of The World releases next year! I am however considering rereading or trying out the audio book for The Loneliest Girl in the Universe so you never know!

 

 

 

 

 

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#S4S – Books People Tell Me To Read

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Happy Six For Sunday! I finally have a spare moment to attempt a post for this weeks Six For Sunday post! This weeks theme is Books People Tell Me To Read and having such a big TBR to get through I have a few of these, most of which are books I own but just haven’t gotten around to yet. I love being recommended books and most of the time books that people suggest I read are spot on and I tend to enjoy the quite a lot, I love it when these books are people’s favourites as well as it feels like they’re letting me see a part of them or sharing something special with me so feel free to recommend me a book in the comments too!

1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I loved the Shadow and Bone trilogy and I’m excited for King of Scars but so many people tell me I should read the Grishaverse duology and I agree I totally need to get around to it but I’m a very mood led reader and I just haven’t been in quite the right mood for it yet.

2. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
I agree wholeheartedly with this one and I did start reading it at one point but I think I went a while without reading and ended up reading something sci-fi instead as I was in the mood for it more after playing a lot of Mass Effect. People always say that overnight seems completely in my wheelhouse and I think I’ll probably love it so I really up to get to it soon!

3. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.A Schawb
Another book I keep being recommended and am desperate to read, I tried at one point after reading Lord Of Shadows but the book hangover was strong and I just couldn’t get into it. Soon though hopefully!

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4. More Warrior Cats by Erin Hunter
I didn’t name a specific book for this one because once I finish the one I’ve been listening to my husband will want me to read the next one and the next one and the next one etc until I’m as heartbroken as him pretty much >.< I’ve read two or three and I’m getting there…slowly, I really love the voices in the audiobooks but I’m far to attached to characters that keep dying or getting hurt.

5. Interview with a Vampire / Anne Rice Vampire Chronicles
As a teenager I was obsessed with Vampires, especially Lestat from the Queen of the Damned film, I LIVED for that soundtrack and I’m pretty sure between that and Interview with a Vampire which I saw when I was probably a bit too young alongside Blade it sparked off my literary obsession with vampires and fueled my love of reading when I discovered the Vampire Diaries. I (and some of my friends) am still shocked and appalled I haven’t finished Interview with a Vampire. I enjoyed what I’d read so far of it but the writing is so beautiful and decadent I feel like it needs to be really savoured but I often have to jump in out of books while half focusing on something else so I haven’t been able to give this book the full attention it deserves…yet.

6. Expanded Universe (Legacy) Star Wars Books
This is one I don’t own any books for. I started reading the Star Wars novels after reading the expanded universe comics for some years but after The Force Awakens when the canon had been readjusted and I didn’t feel like I wanted to go through all of those books for them to then not have any consequence in the stories canon so I continued with the non legacy books instead. While devouring the Rouge One prequel Catalyst I got talking to one of the guys at work who loved the Legacy books and even had a load stashed in his desk, he recommended some to me and I admit a few of them sound interesting enough to me to read despite their non canon status now but unlike the others on this list I don’t any already and I’m not quite as desperate to get to them.

This post has made me extra excited and motivated to get around to some of these books so thank you so much Steph from ALittleButALot for the fantastic prompt!

 

Sunday YA Chat Summer Secret Santa Exchange

Earlier this year those of us who regularly take part in the Sunday YA chat on Twitter created a chat group just for us to chat throughout the rest of the week when we’re not doing SundayYA and it’s been amazing! Its spawned a lot of other chats and has really helped me to feel like a part of the YA and blogger community this year, I’m so grateful for the friends I’ve made through it. Mols (@Bibookishbabe) decided to get us all together for a Bookish Summer Secret Santa exchange just before YALC and it was SO much fun being paired up and trying to work out what to get for our Partners!

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I found out me and my partner both love Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman so I decided to ask Jenn (@JennieLy) from Literary Galaxy (@LiteraryGalaxy) to help me out in creating a special Starfish themed bookmark and I loved the finished product so much I may have had to order myself one as well…

As for the book I had chosen to get a copy of Floored as they had done such a brilliant post for the blog tour and had asked for a copy to get signed at YALC. I got everything together but a couple of bits took a little longer to arrive and by the time I had all the bits it was the day before YALC! I had to message my partner in the end and come clean that I was their partner so I could meet up with them at YALC to make sure they got their book on time!

In a funny turn of events it turned out not only did we have a fair bit in common with our book tastes, YALC schedule etc but she was also the one sending to me as well and when I got home from YALC Friday evening I found a box full of wrapped goodies waiting for me!!

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I was completely blown away by the goodies picked out by my swap partner! We’d been asked to give a rough idea of what kinds of books etc that we liked and my partner got it spot on with their choices which I cannot wait to read! They were so perfect it actually made me well up a little at the thought that went into this (Chris was rather confused that I was hugging books but chalked it up to it being YALC weekend an all), not to mention all the other amazing things in my box! (Ravenclaw badge, pin from one of my favourite pin suppliers, black kitty post it notes, owl bookmark AND sweets) I got so lucky ❤

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So thank you so much to my Summer Secret Santa and to Mols for setting this all up! I can’t wait to do it all over again in December!

The Last Beginning Review

24550848The Last Beginning by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published October 6th 2016 by Walker Books

’Clove Sutcliffe, you are doing things no human has ever done before. You are groundbreaking. You are unique. Do not cease to function due to inappropriate emotional weakness.

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’s debut The Next Together about true love and reincarnation.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives.

But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future, and failure could cost the world everything.

After I finished The Next Together I dove STRAIGHT into its sequel The Last Beginning and this book was even more than I had hoped it would be. Although technically chronological (sort of) it IS a sequel it feels like so much more than that, it feels almost like a puzzle piece we didn’t quite realise was missing from the first book or an extra dimension to it as well as a following on from it as well as happening at the same time in points and…Okay it’s hard to explain which is kind of a part of why I loved it so much, I like books that make you smack your self in the head and yell “of course! How had I not noticed or picked up on that before I’m such an idiot” etc and this book had a lot of that and “ooooh” “ahhhh” and “of course that makes sense!”

I’m not sure who I loved more, Clove who makes some questionable choices (don’t we all) but ultimately does her best and feels like a character I know inside out, Ella, the “love of Clove’s life” who is brash, cocky and overconfident but wants to help and do the right thing just as much as Clove does OR Katherine and Matthew who I didn’t quite realise until reading this and their extra short story (which I’ll be reviewing next!) may actually be my favorite couple ever and lets not get started on Spart the sassy A.I who loves to watch soap operas. Turns out I love them all for different reasons and that’s what really made this book for me, yes I may not have liked a lot of the things Ella said for did at times but that’s just how she was and it made sense and as I’ve noticed in another book I read this week you don’t have to like an agree with a character’s behaviour or actions for them to be a character you enjoy or appreciate.

I’ll admit I did find some of the time travel staff rather confusing but honestly when it’s it a little brain ache inducing? Clove’s timeline is chock full of paradoxes and it kind of gets explained how that works a little but I just spent 15 minutes trying to explain it and I have no words but I promise you it kind of makes sense when described articulately. Articulate description is another reason I enjoyed this reason so much, even when time travel was making my brain hurt it made sense, (mostly) everything was described in a reasonable way and made sense even if the paradox explanation seems a little vague but we’re talking time travel here so how it works is more speculation anyway. The Last Beginning however breathes a bit more life into the idea.

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Speaking of breathing more life into ideas this book completes The Next Together for me and has raised my (already fairly high) opinion of it. This book has the questions to my answers and I have to keep reminding myself they are in fact in two seperate books. I aplaude Lauren James for being able to keep all of this (the timeline especially)  in her mind for long enough to get it to the page and to have done so in such an interesting, intriguing and fun way while also telling us the stories of these people along the way, it’s honestly fantastic.

It feels strange to give this book a XXXXX and The Next Together XXXX when although I loved the heck out of this book I now feel like the first is my favourite but it is the happenings and events that occur in THIS book that add to my appreciation of its predecessor so I feel changing my ratings would be unfair. If you are considering trying this duology I recommend buying both books at the same time so you can dive out of one and straight into the sequel, you will not be dissapointed.

Also most importantly Romy, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is mentioned by name (and title) at the end of The Last Beginning and honestly that just made me whole day.

Mini review to come of the two Next Together novellas later this week.

 

 

Day Three YALC Recap

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YALC Day three recap is here! After the huge post from yesterday you’ll be pleased to know Sunday was a much quieter, much less hectic day. I got a lift up with some “non bookish” friends I’d persuaded to join me for LFCC which was fun, even if we did have to take some detours >.< For the most part though the journey was pretty good and not too stressful. I popped upstairs to YALC first for a flying visit as Harper were holding a raffle for unbound proofs of Shadow of the Fox, I waited with Kirsty and was surprised to find out I had actually won a copy! As today was pretty relaxed we had a good look around at the LFCC floors which were much less crowded and stressful then I remember them being last year which was great because I got to pay a visit to my favourite stand at any convention, the lovely people at Cake in a Jar! They’ve just changed their cake recipes so that they’re now plant-based and Vegan friendly, not to mention still delicious ❤ They did so well they sold out twice and I’m so glad I managed to grab a couple of their yummy cakes!

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After a wander around I decided to head up for the Vampire Talk with Paul Wesley and Daniel Giles, I hoped if I got there in good time I might get an okay seat but nearly had a heart attack when I saw the length of the line already. I started to forget getting a good seat and become worried I wouldn’t get one at all. The line was HUGE and spanned a whole side of the gallery. I’d seen the size of the talks area and I had no idea how they planned to fit us all in. My friend spoke to some of the Showmasters crew who told her that they don’t sell more tickets than seats but I didn’t find myself convinced. Eventually the line started to move very slowly and I was horrified that by the time I got to the front of the line the talk had ALREADY STARTED! I was SO angry that I’d paid for this talk and missed almost half of it already! I will say that thankfully what I did see of the talk was FANTASTIC, Paul and Daniel had such great chemistry together and it was a laugh a minute to the point where I’d almost forgotten my annoyance. I did manage to get a seat in the end but only through complete luck as there were a few single seats left but a lot of people were left standing. I really think Showmasters need to think this through in future and maybe get people in and seated much earlier to avoid this in future.

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Next up I rushed back up to the YALC floor for the Akemi Dawn Bowman signing, I had really wanted to make the talk she was in but with getting through the large crowd forming upstairs for some of the big photo ops I just didn’t make it in time. I did manage to find an excited/slightly nervous Charlotte and Lydia in the signing queue which was lovely because I was a bit nervous myself!

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know how I feel about Starfish and I wanted to try to tell Akemi how much her book meant to me. After mocking Charlotte a little for having actual feelings (love you really!) I ended up being the one getting a little bit teary! Meeting Akemi was absolutely lovely and I’m so excited for her new book Summer Bird Blue coming to the UK next year.

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With most of my to do a list for the weekend now over with I took the time to sit and relax with my friends for a bit, we took a picture in front of this years book wall later on we managed to see Jason Momoa walk past multiple times as well as quite a few other people which was pretty cool.

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I went for a bit of a last walk around YALC towards the end of the day and spotted Holly Jackson (author of A Good Girls Guide to Murder, who thanks to Charlotte I’ve come to know as Murder Lady >.<) sitting in the Book of Dust canoe. After speaking to her when Charlotte won a proof Saturday I became really interested in her book and she was pretty awesome to talk to, she’d signed a sampler for me already but I headed over to say hi and she told me she was hiding. Electronic Monkey have been doing a proof giveaway for her book where if you find Holly during certain times she’ll give you a numbered ticket and if you’re ticket matches a proof at their stand you win it! I’d tried Friday and Saturday but hadn’t thought about it on Sunday so when I realised what she meant I asked if it was okay to have a ticket. I’d seen the poor woman get pretty much mobbed on Saturday so didn’t want to seem like I’d just come over for that but seemed pretty pleased to give me one which was lovely. Once I had my ticket the flood gates seemed to open and the masses descended, I thanked her, waved and got out-of-the-way. A little later on once the crowd around the stand had died off I headed over and it turned out I had managed to win a copy of A Good Girls Guide to Murder After talking to Holly I had gotten SO excited for this book so I may have jumped up and down a little bit!

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My new friend from the Sunday YA chat who I’d been hanging out with a bit at YALC who was also excited for the book won one as well which was brilliant as now I could talk to her and Charlotte about the book which is always a bonus!

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Holly was super sweet and signed my book while we had a great chat and then posed for a picture with me and the book. Honestly I think this may have been the highlight of my day! A Good Girls Guide to Murder is next on my TBR and I’m SO EXCITED for it! Not to mention I love (although I’m sure will hate when I get to it) that the publishers ripped out the last few chapters of the book and left a note blaming the murderer at the back with an email we could contact for the last few chapters! I think it’s such a great idea and a really fun little quirk which makes it feel even more special, this was absolutely my favourite ARC I got over the YALC weekend.

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With that and my friends photo shoots done we decided to call it a day and head off. The journey back was a lot smoother and after all agreeing we were hungry and in dire need of chicken nuggets we headed to McDonalds for what was dubbed “Nugfest18”

Although there were definitely some issues over the weekend I had a great time and two weeks later I’m still enjoying reminiscing about the fantastic three days I had. Overall I think a lot of aspects were much better than they had been the year before and I hope they can continue to improve. I hope everyone else had a great time and feel free to drop me links to your YALC blogs in the comments because I’m loving looking back at it all. I’ll be back with my review of The Last Beginning by Lauren James Tuesday so I’ll talk to you all then!

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YALC Day Two Recap

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Day Two of my YALC recap is here (yes two weeks later I’m aware). The Saturday of YALC was a great one but easily the most grueling. I had a lot of signings I wanted to get to, three of which were straight after a panel and with very popular authors but I’ll go into more detail about that later.

My first stop of the morning was to the Hot Key Books stand where I signed up for a Siren makeover and grabbed a copy of To Kill a Kingdom to get signed by author Alexandra Christi, I had a digital ARC of the book and loved it so knew I had to get a hard copy. The lovely ladies at the stall also made an easy extra two book sales by informing me that M.A Bennett would be around to sign books later too so I grabbed a copy of The Island and then also telling me that their books were 3 for £10 and I nabbed a copy of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray after loving her work on Star Wars: Bloodline and Leia, plus I was in a very spacey kind of mood.

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On the way to get my Siren make up done I also paid a quick visit to the Ink Road Stall after having a lovely chat with the ladies there the day before. I figured I’d pop over and say hi, see how they were doing etc and I also wanted to pick up a sampler for Summer Bird Blue when I spot Akemi Dawn Bowman just sitting behind the stand  – which is fine she’s an actual human being who is allowed to sit etc but I just hadn’t expected it as she wasn’t signing until Sunday. I mumbled about how much I loved Starfish and then got super nervous and kind of ran away. I’m an idiot but plucked up the courage after a quick sit down and a drink to head back and say hi properly. She was SO lovely and signed my sampler for me as I wouldn’t have my copy of Starfish with me until the next day and we took a picture together, it was lovely and was a super awesome start to the day. Apart from the running away bit obviously.

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Next up were the signings for the Floored authors! For some reason I assumed that all of the authors would perhaps be at a table together and we’d all queue in one line then when we got to the front we would work our way across each of the authors and DONE. Alas it was not to be! I think I got this idea from the fact that all of the authors were represented on the timetable by a picture of the Floored book cover whereas when they’d been shown on other days they had different pictures, i.e Non’s was Giant days (and I’m an idiot and didn’t take Floored for her to sign with me when I met her then!). The way it was shown said to me that it was a special signing session for Floored but I was horrified to discover when I got to the signing area that we actually had to queue individually for almost every one of the authors and they were NOT small queues by any stretch of the imagination. I managed to only miss Melinda Sailsbury and Non Pratt in the end telling myself I was likely to see them at more events and possibly YALC next year thankfully as I absolutely had to sit down for a but and have something to drink etc. I’d brought a big bottle of juice squash I’d left in the freezer over night and it was an absolute live saver each day so I’ll definitely be doing that again next year.

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As you can see I managed to bump into Melinda Sailsbury later on and she was more than happy to sign my copy of Floored for me as she was a bit miffed that the Showmasters staff cut her queue off and didn’t tell her when she was more than happy to keep on signing. As much as I liked the extra space we have on the YALC floor I wonder if it’s time for a bit more of a move around so we have more space for signing queues or a better application of the virtual queue ticketing which I think is a great idea when used right.

Before heading off to the “Among the Stars” panel I met up with a load of the girls from the SundayYA group and got a few group pictures taken (one of which is the header for this post). Again it was lovely seeing everyone and OH MY GOSH Layla’s Kaz cosplay was STUNNING.

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I was SO excited for the Among the Stars panel that I can’t even explain. I literally wore a spacey outfit for the occasion. The panel featured Becky Chambers, Lauren James, Lindsay Cummings, Sasha Alsberg and was chaired by Samantha Shannon. The panel was to discuss space and creating worlds that none of us have had the chance to go to except in our authors wonderful books and it did NOT disappoint. I was lucky enough to even be able to ask a question (who would you chose to take to space with you?). Not to mention at the end of the talk Lauren James revealed the cover for her new book “The Quiet at the End of the World which I am SO SO ready for already. Also look at this cover it’s gorgeous!!

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Next were the dreaded signings. I had been anxious all day about getting to all three authors in their two-hour signing slots because they’re so very popular. I joined the Sasha Alsberg queue first and was super pleased to have managed to get in quite near the front. We (me and Mel) were in fact in the first thirty which meant we won a Geeky Clean Zenith Bath Bomb (which I had inadvertently helped design while wicking candles for a super secret NPC thing). Meeting Sasha was AMAZING. I could talk and talk about Zenith and my copy is FULL of tabs as it was my very first ARC/review copy I had ever had and I’d read it twice so I mean it when I say it is FULL of these little tabs. Sasha loved going through asking me what each colour meant and I was a little embarrassed as a few were frustrated or annoyed bits but she told me it means so much to see a copy of her book like that and I thought I was going to cry which is totally lame. Sasha’s channel was the very first booktube chanel I ever watched and she got me hooked on Shadowhunters so I’m so glad I got to meet someone who had already had such an impact on me. It was also so lovely that she had brought bookplates signed by Lindsay along with her too as Lindsay couldn’t make it as she’s getting ready to have her baby soon and it was such a nice little touch. P.S Don’t ask about the picture we had taken together because I made a face at Steph and that was the picture I got so I’ll include one of us talking while she went though my tabs instead!

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While I was in the queue for Sasha I started to feel a bit dismayed about getting through the other queues as they were building fast. Thankfully the lovely Jenn and her boyfriend were next to us in the Becky Chambers queue and her boyfriend offered to take mine to get it signed which I am super grateful for as I don’t think I would have been able to make it through all of them. I do wonder whether YALC need to consider the types of authors they’re all having signing at the same time and weather or not these are authors people are going to want to meet all of and perhaps stagger them a bit more?

Thankfully I did manage to make it through the queue to meet Lauren James! I absolutely LOVED her book that released early at YALC last year “The Loneliest Girl In The Universe” and was that weekend actually reading her debut book “The Next Together” (which I reviewed on Tuesday if you want to check it out) so it was even more fantastic than normal to meet her. Being one of my top favourite authors and an instabuy for me I was so happy to get this chance to talk to her and get excited about her new book etc.

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The day was coming to an end fast and I had one more signing to get to and that was for Laura Steven, the author of The Exact Opposite of Okay which is another book that really resonated with me and my teenage years. It was lovely to have a nice chat with her and let her know how grateful I am for this fantastic, funny and important book she’s written as well as telling her much I couldn’t wait to get hold of the sequel coming next year!

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It was a long old day and my only real problem were the way some of the signings were done to be honest. The overground wasn’t running that weekend so I had to get the district line back to Liverpool Street, I ended up on a wrong tube but it all worked out pretty good in the end. Mainly because I met a super adorable Dog who wanted to sit with me have strokes and share my fan. Win/win situation. I’ll be back tomorrow for my Day Three recap and my all round sum up!

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I couldn’t not post the picture of this good boy!

YALC – Day One Recap

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Finally getting around to doing my YALC recap and I realised that I didn’t want to miss anything out and I actually ended up doing quite a bit in the end so I decided to spilt them up into days to make it a bit of an easier read with any luck! So today lets talk about day one, the Friday.

I was super excited and nervous as I hadn’t come alone to YALC before and wasn’t sure what to expect with queuing etc but it really helped to have been chatting with the lovely people in the SundayYA twitter chat group a few weeks before hand so I felt like I’d at least know some people when I got there. I met up with Kirsty, we grabbed some drinks and waited in line. It was pretty hot but the great company helped time go faster and we were let into the cooler building pretty quick. Getting into YALC itself was a nice easy experience and felt much preferable to the LFCC entrance I’d used before.

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The YALC floor, although warm was still much better than I had imagined it temperature wise and I love all the space up there, there was even a quiet zone with bean bags etc which was a lovely touch. The setup was mostly the same as last year and is nice and chilled out which is lovely. I paid a visit to the Coppafeel stand and got sparkled up before heading to the Waterstones area to grab early copies of Giant Days and Only Love Can Break Your Heart so I could get them signed. The queue here was pretty huge already and Non’s signing was pretty early so I’m glad i went when I did! There was also a backdrop from the YA Prom I’d missed the week before where if you took your pic in front of it and posted it to social media you got an Only Love Can Break Your Heart Punky Pins badge from the Walker stand so of course that was the next thing I did!

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There were a couple of competitions and giveaways going on at the different publisher stands which were a lot of fun! It was so nice not to have to worry about running around trying to get ARC’s or anything, it made it so much less stressful meant I didn’t have to stay glued to my Twitter feed all day. We knew about times and locations for a lot of the compettions and draws that were happening so it was easy to fit into a schedule and be prepared. I was only interested in a few of these and am pleased to say that I actually managed to get hold of the ones I had been after as well as one I found out about that day and loved the sound of. Friday I won a copy of The Girl King from Gollancz which had been mentioned at the Orion blogger event I attended earlier in the month where we had a video call from the author about the book so I was super pleased to get that one. I also won a finished copy of LifeL1k3 by aJay Kristoff which I’ve been desperate to read and that had only just come out in a physical copy the day before which was a lovely surprise as I certainly hadn’t expected to win!

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I met up with some more of the Sunday YA people throughout the day and managed to track down my Summer Secret Santa partner to give her a box of goodies, we ended up in a lot of the same signing queues so we had lots of great chats! I got to meet Katherine Webber, Non Pratt and Joanne Harris (I WAS SO EXCITED!).

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After chilling out looking at the stands for a while and lots of sitting breaks to rest my cruddy knee and keep cool I made my way over the 200 years of Frank panel celebrating the 200th year since release of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The panel featured Ed McDonald, Joanne Harris, Matt Killeen, Melinda Salisbury & Sarah Maria Griffin. Everyone received a free new edition copy of Frankenstein (with green sprayed edges) which I particularly appreciated having not read it myself yet. The panel itself was fun and as someone who loves the “monsters” rather than the heroes in a lot of the books I read it was nice to hear the majority there tended to agree with me and it was interesting to hear about how the authors developed their own monsters.

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The only thing left to do after the panel was the Fight like a Pirate sword fighting class with Ed McDonald which I’d signed up for IMMEDIATLEY and had originally brought my Friday ticket mainly so I could attend this workshop. I WAS NOT DISSAPOINTED! I really hope this is a workshop that makes another appearance at YALC or another bookish event, it was so much fun! Thank you so much to my partner Lynne, who let me bop her on the head repeatedly. Also a huge thank you to Ed and the others from London Longsword! I had a great time!

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The journey home was surprisingly easy despite it chucking it down with rain and having to protect some MinaLima art posters (one signed!) under my top on my way to the tube station but otherwise I got off and onto my connecting train with almost no waiting. I got home, unpacked my books and other goodies and was actually shocked with the pile of books I seemed to have amassed!

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My Summer Secret Santa box had also arrived which I opened that evening to put that’s a whole other post (which is actually already done and ready to go for a change so you’ll see that next week!). All in all a great first day, I went to sleep excited and ready for more! Tune in tomorrow for Day Two! The longest day ever >.<

Me as a writer tag

I was hoping to get my YALC post up today but things have been a little busy and when I have had free time my laptop sees fit to overheat and turn off so I haven’t been able to get much done. Along with blogging another thing I haven’t been able to get much more done of which is infuriating is writing. For those who don’t know I enjoy writing. I’m under no illusion of ever becoming a published author by any means but I do enjoy to write for myself and those who are interested. I’ve been working on the same manuscript for almost a year and a half now and it keeps evolving and changing, after I’ve written this post and got it scheduled I’m planning to get a nice chunk of my current draft done as long as it stays fairly cool but the rain holds off for just a little longer as I’m having to sit on my balcony to keep my laptop from overheating…

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Anyway long story short I’m sticking with the usual Tag Thursday post but today instead of a normal book tag this one is all about writing and I hope you enjoy something a little different.

Thank you for the open tag from Donna-Louise. You can read her answers here.

So here is a little insight into me as a writer and my writing world:

What do you write?

I used to write a lot of fanfic (not like THAT…okay sometimes like that) and a few short stories. I’ve been trying for years to write something full length but until last year I didn’t have enough ideas to get me though a full length ‘novel’ so this is a first for me.

What do you mostly write about?

I like emotion, especially intense emotion which is where the idea for my novel really came from. A lot of my short stories would focus on just one or two and really dig into them which I love to do. I also like fantasy and science fiction so the settings for my writing are almost always in those two genres.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Reading it back. I know it sounds strange but  I love to read my work back to myself aloud and for it to sound right to me. As I’ve mentioned before I write for me so when my work is at a level where I enjoy reading it back I know I’m on the right track.

What/Who inspired you to start/keep writing?

I think I just want more stories. I’ve always had an overactive imagination and I would write stories about my favorite characters in books and games or TV shows because I wanted more of their story. Often the things I write are characters or scenarios I dream up and then I build around them because I want to know more.

Who’s your favorite character you’ve made up?

I think actually it might be K.A.T (name subject to change) from my current WIP she was meant to be a fairly minor part and then she just grew and took over more and more of the plot until she became one of the main characters. She’s an A.I with a god complex  who falls in love a girl she has kept trapped with the last of her kind in a sim programme for hundreds of years aboard an alien vessel except she’s not sure if she’s in love with the real girl or the more innocent, slightly brainwashed version of the girl she has accidentally created.

She drives me nuts but I honestly think I just fell a bit in love with her and now she’s unstoppable.

Send help.

When did you start writing?

Around eight maybe? I read The Two Princesses of Barremare by Gail Carson Levine and I wrote little stories about their adventures after the book ended.

First story you wrote?

As above. I wrote a lot of Star Wars stuff as well and some greek mythology based stuff after becoming obsessed with Disney’s Hercules.

Favorite story you wrote?

I don’t remember a lot of the stuff I wrote because I tended to leave it unfinished and not think about it again after a few months. One of my favourite things I’ve written though is a short piece following on from the end of Mass Effect 3 some years later based around Garrus. Other than my current WIP it’s the one I’m most proud of and I love to read it.

Do you have a writing schedule? Like, do you write every day or just when you feel like it?

I go through phases where I actively make time but often it depends how much inspiration has struck me. Recently I’ve been really thinking about it again especially with NaNoWriMo coming up soon so this evening for example I’ve decided I need to write 1k words before I log on to World of Warcraft.

Do you want to be published?

Honestly not really. I might self publish something eventually but I don’t think I’m cut out to be an actual published author.

If you’re a writer, and you want to do this tag, please do so and tag me so I can read your answers. Thanks for reading.

The Next Together Review

23266378The Next Together by Lauren James

Rating: XXXX

September 3rd 2015 by Walker Books

“I don’t think there are any true heroes. Just people who ignore their survival instincts long enough to do something incredibly foolhardy.”

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, “original” historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

After reading the most recent book by Lauren James (The Loneliest Girl in the Universe) after YALC last year and LOVING IT (reread review to come very soon!) I finally got around to reading her debut novel The Next Together and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

The Next Together spans across different lives throughout time and follows our main characters via three different versions of our protagonist Katherine Finchley in 1745, 1854 and 2039. At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep up with three varying but connected story lines at the same time but they each have their own unique feel to them making them easy to slip in and out of. The way each narrative began and ended also helped by making you want to read more from that particular time but without making you want to skip the next part to get back to that part of the plot (a little like Game of Thrones).

The over arching plot is a difficult one to comment on because we end up with more questions than answers I feel and that is one of the few reasons I knocked the rating down to XXXX. The events that go on through this book are interesting  and the characters especially kept me intrigued and enjoying this book, even shedding a few tears on a busy underground train but the end of the book doesn’t feel like an ending, or even much of a conclusion and more like the end part one of a book. The ending wasn’t bad it just didn’t feel as satisfying to me as I would have liked. Thankfully there is a sequel and The Last beginning (from what I’ve read so far) fills in some gaps and answers some questions in quite a satisfying way but it feels strange we had to wait for the sequel for those answers. That being said if you want to sell a sequel you need to make people want it and I was absolutely desperate for it the moment I closed The Next Together so it was certainly affective.

For me the characters and their relationships are really what sell this book for me which seems to be something Lauren James is very good at, her books really make you look at and fall for her characters and the plot kind of feels secondary (in a good way), I could have happily read pages and pages more of notes between Matthew and Katherine and still been pleased.

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Although I probably would have liked a bit more of an explosive ending with more answers I really did enjoy The Next Together and I think this and a couple of other books I’ve read recently are really starting to pull me in to the more space opera (or at least character driven – this was the closest way of describing it that I could think of) side of Science Fiction which is something I hadn’t really given much thought to before. I love the spacey and or futuristic feel in books but these books where that isn’t the main focus and is just your normal setting  but the interesting stuff that happens comes from the people in that story.I certainly recommend checking out The Next Together but if you get a good way in and decide that yes you do love it too I would advise getting the second book before you finish the first so you have it there ready to go so you aren’t kept awake at night trying to work out answers (better than the nightmares from the Loneliest Girl but still not a good addition to a good nights sleep).

As I write this review I’m already over three-quarters of the way through the aforementioned sequel (which I’m LOVING THE HECK OUT OF) and have yet to read the two short stories that accompany these books but I know I’ll get those read in time to review all three next week! I’m also hoping to get my YALC blog up this coming Thursday as well but as it’s the six weeks holiday and Nate is well…Nate please keep your fingers crossed for me! Until then.x

The Greatest Showman Book Tag

I was pretty far behind the instant love that happened when The Greatest showman first came out, having a three-year old and no car makes it a pain to try to get to the cinema very much in a town with no cinema so it wasn’t until it came to DVD recently that I finally got to experience this brilliant film. I wasn’t sure I’d be especially keen on the entire thing being a musical but as you may expect I loved it and the songs have now become a staple on my playlists. As such I couldn’t say no to this book tag by rachaelrexds

The Greatest Showman – A book with a colourful and lively setting 

The Extinction Trials by S.M Wilson.
I always imagine the continent of Pliora to be full of colour and life, thus this was the first book I immediately thought of for this one.

“Where it’s covered in all the colored lights
Where the runaways are running the night
Impossible comes true, intoxicating you
Oh, this is the greatest show”

A Million Dreams – A book with a character that loves to dream

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
I don’t think this could be any other book, Lazlo and his dreams absolutely captured me at a time when I was finding it hard to read and I fell in love with him and his world.

“Cause every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake”

Come Alive – A character who bravely overcame his / her fears

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman.
Kiko has an incredible character arc and she overcomes so much in her life, facing her fears, her family and her anxiety.

“Come alive, come alive
Go and ride your light
Let it burn so bright”

The Other Side – Your favourite bromance 🙂

Nik and Ezra from Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
One of my favourite things about Obsidio is the way all of the characters interacted with each other but by far my favourite interactions had to be with Nik and Ezra. The parachute conversation nearly killed me >.<

“Don’t you wanna get away from the same old part you gotta play
‘Cause I got what you need
So come with me and take the ride”

Never Enough – A book with an ending that left you wanting more!

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare.
This book gave me the BIGGEST book hangover I’ve ever experienced and the ending destroyed me. I think the third book may be the book I’ve anticipated the most in a very long time.

“Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough” 

This Is Me –  A character who’s not afraid to be different

Izzy O’Neil from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
Izzy enjoys her life, knows she wants (mostly) and isn’t afraid to stand by the morals she believes in despite what others think even after everything that happens and although (understandably) things get more difficult as her situation gets worse she does her best to keep to her guns and I love her character for that.

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me”

Rewrite The Stars – A book featuring star-crossed lovers

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.
Jace and Clary were the first Star Crossed Lovers that I really cared about and the end of the first book left me angry and confused >.< I love it when books really make me question things.

What if we rewrite the stars?
Say you were made to be mine
Nothing could keep us apart
You’d be the one I was meant to find”

There we have it! I’ve been meaning to do this tag for a few weeks now and I’m glad to have finally got around to it. I won’t tag anyone specifically as I imagine people would have already done it by now but if you’d like to consider yourself tagged and let me know in the comments! I’ll be back soon with another review and my YALC report and book haul from last weekend.