Events, spoiler free

London Darkdawn Launch

event report

So, if you’ve been reading my blog for the past couple of years or so you might notice that I’m a bit of a Jay Kristoff fan. I fell in love The Illuminae Files and more recently, finally read The Nevernight Chronicles (although I’m yet to finish Darkdawn) and fell head over heels for everyone’s favourite knife wife, Mia Corverre, her friends, her companions and her enemies. So when tickets for the London Darkdawn launch with the man himself went live I frantically ordered myself and my husband (who adored The Illuminae Files too) one each right away.

We travelled up with friendlings and had lunch beforehand before heading to Goldsboro books to pick up our special editions of Darkdawn. I’d never been before and the store was small but lovely. I think the Goldsboro edition of Darkdawn may be one of the best-looking books I have ever seen and certainly my favourite. When we purchased our books the salesperson wrapped each one with a protective plastic covering which to me, was a beautiful personal touch and I certainly plan to order from there again in the future.

From Goldsboro we headed straight to the venue (give or take some coffee and ice cream), St James’s Church, just past the huge Waterstones Picadilly store. Having been to an event there before with Leigh Bardugo and then again with Cassie Clare and Holly Black we knew that arriving early was essential to getting a good seat and to be in with a chance of getting our books signed fairly quickly so we didn’t get back too late. We arrived at around 3pm and there were only two other people in front of us which was a bonus. I had brought my Waterstones copy of Darkdawn with me to read in the queue and my 3DS but in the end we actually all ended up chatting to each other and friends as they arrived. About 3:30/4 Jay actually popped out to see us which was awesome, he seemed genuinely shocked that we were waiting there for his event that didn’t start for another four hours. I maaay have embarrassed myself when I saw him, greeting him with a “Hey Loser” because I have no idea how to actually be cool and it seemed funny at the time? I’m not sure my friends or husband will ever let me live it down…

We were let into the venue (I think) a little earlier than seven which was nice and it was starting to get chilly and looked like it may rain. We managed to get one of the front seats which was brilliant, especially as I’m pretty damned short! It was nice chatting to everyone and in what felt like no time at all the event was underway, starting with a talk chaired by Samantha Shannon who I’ve seen chair a few times now and she’s absolutely fantastic at it. The talk lasted an hour with some questions at the end and it was probably one of the best talks I’ve been to, it was hilarious, heartwarming and informative. Some highlights were:

  • Finding out Nevernight came about after an argument between two friends one New Years Eve about the “dreaded” C-Word and whether it was an insult or not (If you’ve read Nevernight this will make a lot more sense).
  • World Building – Jay likes to address the broad first, i.e the key differences between our world and the fictional world.
  • The three things Jay can talk about at the drop of a hat are marvel comics, Lord of the Rings and Ancient Rome.
  • A lot of Jay’s inspiration for his writing comes from history, saying “The weirdest thing you can probably imagine has actually happened and it was probably weirder than you can imagine.”
  • “Jesus is okay with F*ck” (in response to not using the C-Word in church but dropping all of the F-Bombs.
  • Blowing Samantha Shannon’s mind when she discovered you could sleep with characters in some RPG video games, this example was The Witcher (Jay’s a Yen man y’all) and the unicorn scene. This moment was hilarious and as a gamer, it felt like chilling out chatting with a bunch of friends.
  • His number one piece of writing advice is to get to the fun (he used a brilliant Simpsons analogy “When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?!” Nevernight originally featured a ten-year-old Mia exploring Godsgrave.
  • Jay’s shadow companion would be a Jack Russell.
  • We got some more information about Jay’s next adult fantasy book “Empire of the Vampire” which I’m crazy excited for and may have whopped and cheered when he announced it.
  • The book that changed everything for Jay was The Hobbit, saying “I found my people in that book” and I actually got misty-eyed here because this was a big important book for me too for many of the same reasons.
  • I got to ask a question about his use of slang in most of his books (my favourite, “Son of a biscuit” it turns out was an Amie Kauffman invention) and he showed me how to correctly give someone the knuckles (I was SO close).

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After this came the signing and it was a little bit of a mess to be honest, some people were pretty peeved that those who had arrived after them were being let up to sign before them etc but we were still in the first row that were able to do so which was pretty awesome with me and we didn’t have to wait long at all. I was however incredibly nervous! After a joke about throwing his books, I had got a shirt personalised for myself (which I was wearing) and one for him saying “I only throw Jay Kristoff books” and felt like maybe it was a bit weird but it turns out he actually loved it (see vlog at the end of this post for reaction). He doodled a Mr Kindly in my copy of Nevernight, signed my copy of Godsgrave and a Nevernight poster I’d brought with me as long as our copies of the Illumine Files and chatted with Chris about getting back into reading etc which was lovely. We did have our picture taken with him too but honestly me and Chris look like nervous wrecks in it so have a nice picture of one of my signed books instead.

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I had a fantastic time and despite the organisational issues with the signing (which were a lot worse as time went on, we were very very lucky as a friend in the fourth row waited for over two hours). I really really hope Jay decides to come back to the UK in the future, maybe him AND Amie for one of the Aurora Rising releases or maybe Empire of the Vampire who knows!

Did you make it to one of the events? If so what was one of your highlights? If you couldn’t make it but would have liked to what would one question would you have asked Jay?

 

 

 

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spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday September 11th 2019

Another fortnight has come and gone and I’m underprepared as usual (7am on a Wednesday morning instead of 8am is an improvement though neh? (Gone are those days too as now little man is at school 8am is a much more frantic time and leaves no room for panicked blogging! On the bright side, WWW Wednesday is a fun, easy post as I just talk about what I’ve read and what I want to read next and is probably one of my favourites.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

As I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about now, I’m currently reading Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (still). I’m making pretty slow going with it, not because I’m not enjoying it as it definitely as the least draggy start of all three books but I’m just so short on time to read at the moment and I defintley don’t want to rush this one, I feel like it needs to be savoured.

What did you recently finish reading?

I actually managed to squeeze in The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill and, much like it’s predecessor, it’s an absolute work of art.  I think it may actually be my favourite of the two! It comes out next week and my spoiler-free review will go live on the same day. Prepare for more tea dragon cuteness!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Probably The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I’m on a big vampire kick at the moment and have honestly just been rewatching Moonlight (slightly angsty vampire TV show from the 00’s and one of my favourites) in between battling the urge to read fanfic for the past week so I think some a fresh vampire story can only be a good thing, I’m so glad they seem to be “back in” for YA now!

What are you reading at the moment? Is anyone else still currently reading Darkdawn or is it just me now? Have you read The Deathless Girls? If so let me know what you thought! Feel free to link me to any spoiler-free reviews about it as I’d love to check them out. Have a great Wednesday!

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

TBR Thursday – September 2019

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My little boy started school yesterday and although granted, I do spend most of the time he’s there (he’s only doing short days for a while) I spend most of it doing housework at the moment to help our poor flat recover from the six weeks holiday I’ve realised I’ll have time to READ and listen to audiobooks and eventually I might even be able to go swimming again!! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I’ve planned a suitably (hopefully) achievable TBR for September which will see my kindle getting a good amount of use as I try to get through my NetGalley backlog! Also, did I mention…

DARKDAWN by Jay Kristoff
IT IS HERE I HAVE MY COPY AND IM READY TO VIBRATE ONTO ANOTHER PLAIN OF EXISTENCE I’M SO EXCITED.
(The third and final book in the Nevernight Chronicles. I am not ready).

The Boneships by RJ Barker
You might remember that I got very over-excited about a new project RJ Barker told us about at the MCM Blogger Brunch back in May, this is it and I’m lucky enough to have received an early finished copy to dig my teeth into. I’m hoping that the Darkdawn hangover isn’t too great and I can get right into this as soon as possible.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Another book I’ve been excited about for a while, The Deathless Girls is the untold story of the brides of Dracula and a concept I’ve been interested in since the cheesy Van Helsing film with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckingsale in from way back when. I can’t wait!

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
The new novel by the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower promises to be different, unnerving and spooky from what I’ve read of the sample I’ve already read, just in time to be a perfect creepy Autumn read!

Hex Life Anthology by Kelly Armstrong, Rachel Caine and many more
Hoping I’m not being too ambitious with five books for this month but would really love to get stuck into Hex Life, a witchy anthology including short stories from some of my favourite paranormal romance etc authors!

book reviews, spoiler free

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book Review

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The Girl the Sea Gave Back 
by Adrienne Young

Rating: XXXX

Published September 3rd 2019 by Titan Books

“He knew that I’d bring death since the moment he first laid eyes on me. And he was right.”

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

I was gifted an early finished copy of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by publisher Titan Books in exchange for an honest review, despite not being blown away by Sky in the Deep, the debut book by the same author I decided to give this second book a go as there defintley felt like potential and the cover and name of the book completely won me over.

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You might remember back in April I reviewed Sky in the Deep (you can find my review here) and I found it really predictable and didn’t hugely enjoy it too much as a result but I am pleased to report the sequel of sorts/companion story The Girl the Sea Gave Back felt like a vast improvement. If you haven’t read Sky in the Deep however do not despair as they can be read as separate books and you do not have to have read Sky in the Deep to understand and follow TGTSGB. I would say, however, that it is beneficial and gives the story much more depth. It is certainly a good story in its own right but I found I was already attached to other characters because of their involvement in the first book, especially Halvard who is a main character this time around and I had already decided I would lay my life down for him in Sky in the Deep.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back, for me at least, defintley benefited from having a little more of a fantasy element to it. The main character, Tova, is a truth tongue, she can communicate (in a way) with the spinners who carve fate into the tree of Udur and thus she can cast runes and use them to determine futures and outcomes. This really gave it a more interesting depth and the fact that Tova from a Kyrr, (a member of a mysterious clan from the headlands who keep to themselves) living among another clan called the Svell made for some brilliant narrative and conflict within as she tried to find her place. I really like that although Tova is young and relatively inexperienced she made smart choices and was an easy character to mesh with and see the world through her eyes.

Halvard is all grown up ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep and he is almost impossible not to love, he’s grown up to be honourable and thoughtful but as one of the first generations to have not seen battle in the fighting seasons, instead being taught merely to fish and hunt instead of fight he sometimes feels he is lesser and not worthy of responsibility placed on him by those around him. He is as wholesome as ever in this companion story and the love I already had for him only grew as he makes hard decisions and proves himself to be who his family and his village already know him to be.

The plot was paced fairly well, with sprinklings of battle here and there which were written very well, being both exciting and easy to follow. There is the smallest sprinkling of romance involved and I was worried that it would be very predictable and irritate me but honestly, it was okay and not made a huge deal of which I think was for the best. I found moments surprised me and I became quite invested in the outcome of all involved, The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a solid and enjoyable read.

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you think should be studied in school

Six for Sunday

Yikes! Steph from A Little but A Lot who comes up with these prompts picked a hard one for this week! I have no idea what would be beneficial to children today, I’m so out of touch! I will, however, list six books that I would have liked to have studied in school or that I think would be interesting to discuss.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I feel like this would potentially be a difficult one because it is so filled with grief and some behaviour that could be construed as negative (but realistic). I’m a little out of touch with how teenagers or those who had lost someone very close to them would feel about reading or studying this so not sure this would actually be the best of choices as it could be a sensitive subject but I think it’s something that I would have valued at a younger age personally.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
This is an incredibly important book. It showcases so many relevant topics, although this would probably be a 16+ book.

His Hideous Heart by various authors, edited by Dahlia Adler
I think this anthology of retellings of the works of Edgar Allen Poe would be a brilliant book to study, especially as it also includes the original poems in the back of the book too. Perhaps when studying this, students could pick a poem and write a story about that in the same way?

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
This book is a great read but it also has some important messages about how we treat the world itself and what it means to be human, I feel like this could lead to some important and educational discussions and ideas.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Sailsbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
I feel like this book is so good at showcasing a group of very different young people and how despite their differences and disagreements they can still care about each other and still get along with dealing with some pretty hard times in their life and topics that may be difficult to broach otherwise.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Okay so this is probably boring for a lot of people but I studied Macbeth multiple times in school and I LOVED it. I was so glad we weren’t stuck studying Of Mice and Men or Romeo and Juliet but Macbeth had battles and witches and Lady Macbeth telling her husband to sort himself out and murder the king already, also regicide is always fun, let alone the characters and then going mad with guilt. Also, I won’t spoil it but that loophole in the prophecy hey? LOVE it. I think studying Shakespeare is cool but we defintley need to look at some of the more awesome plays instead of repeatedly studying the same things. (I would have loved 12th night or Hamlet in addition to Macbeth instead of doing Macbeth twice despite how much I loved it).

Okay so most of these probably aren’t great or realistic choices but I tried? Was there a particular book at school that you studied and really liked? I was particularly fond of The Crucible and that always stuck with me.

 

 

Tags

3 Quotes, 3 Days – Part Three

Our third and final day has arrived and honestly, I’m thinking of turning this into a weekly thing I’ve had so much fun with it! I was tagged for the 3 Quotes, 3 Days post by Sarah from The Book Hooked Nook (Thank you, Sarah).

The Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)

• Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

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You’re a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell.” Jay Kristoff – Nevernight

I tag:

Charlotte (Charlotte Reads Things)

Delly (Dellybird)

Moon (Moon Dreams)

I’m not even sorry that 2 out of the 3 quotes for this have been Jay Kristoff ones.

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

3 Quotes, 3 Days – Part Two

Welcome back to Part Two of the 2 Quotes, 3 Days tag! I was tagged for the 3 Quotes, 3 Days post by Sarah from The Book Hooked Nook (Thank you, Sarah).

The Rules

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)

• Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

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“Every story needs its hero. And its villain. And its monster.”  Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff – Obsidio

I tag:

Gaynor (Paperbacks and Pinot)

Layla (Readable Life)

Surbhi (Books Untold)

Don’t miss the last quote tomorrow!