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?

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Book Review

32055872._SY475_Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Rating: XXXXX

Published September 7th 2017

“You can keep the glory. I’m just here for the blood.” 

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Godsgrave is a sequel to Nevernight (review here) and as such, this is a very vague review to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. It turns out this is a super hard book to talk about without spoilers so never fear I’ll be doing a spoiler book talk video on my booktube within the next week with any luck.

So I gave myself a day to get over Nevernight (as much as I could) or at least let the ending sink in and then I started Godsgrave. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much as it’s predecessor, especially with some story splitting at the beginning which I found a little jarring at times but once things came together and everything made sense I got into it very quickly.

I found myself becoming more invested in returning characters as I learned more about them and easily warmed to a few of the newer ones leading to some emotional moments for that I hadn’t been expecting. Mia, as always, has a lot of fantastic moments in this one, not all of which end up with her soaked in blood (although obviously some of them do) and I really enjoyed watching her develop, seeing her in different situations and essentially becoming stronger in a multitude of ways. I think we really get to learn a fair bit about Mia in this book and her thoughts and feelings a little beyond her constant need for revenge (but only just).

The story itself, much like Nevernight did start slow but gained traction and there were points where my heart was in my throat, my eyes were frantically moving across the page trying to devour words as fast as I possibly good and I’m sure my heart rate must have been going crazy from the stress of some key moments. I’m infinitely glad that I finished Godsgrave a mere week before Darkdawn was released because I was left with so many questions and bombshells that I think the wait may have driven me to insanity.

I don’t think I enjoyed Godsgrave quite as much as Nevernight until towards the end but it’s still more than worthy of a XXXXX rating and it’s certainly one that will stick with me. Even as I write this I’ve started Darkdawn and I’m terrified it’s going to destroy me, to be honest.

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – August 28th 2019

www wednesday

So I like to think I’m usually pretty well prepared and I tend to have my posts scheduled in advance by at least a couple of days. This is not the case today. I’m frantically typing at 8am ON Wednesday, August 28th because honestly, I forgot it was time for my fortnightly WWW Wednesday! I hope you still enjoy it though!

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?

I’m currently reading The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young. I’m just under half-way through which I don’t think is too bad considering I haven’t had a lot of reading time this past week. I’m already enjoying it more than I did Sky in the Deep as there seems to be a bit more of a fantasy element to this one and I’m enjoying seeing or hearing about characters from the first book!

What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve been a bit slower with my reading as it’s the school holidays so the last book I finished was Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff and honestly, I’m still kind of reeling from it (review to come soon) because damn it was a stressful read (good but stressful) and I’m starting to feel a little terrified about Darkdawn…

What do you think you’ll read next?

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff is out in just under a week from today so I don’t want to start anything too big because the moment that book arrives I plan to devour it immediately so after my current read I might read some graphic novels or maybe finally finish Six of Crows? WHO KNOWS?!

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read something recently that you’ve absolutely loved? Tell me all about it!

 

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 14th August

www wednesday

It’s been a slow reading couple of weeks for me! With little man off school and then being ill the past few days I’ve not been able to get very much reading done at all but I did finally tick an eagerly anticipated book off my TBR though!

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?

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

I’m really gutted I haven’t been able to read much of this at the moment but I’m already really enjoying what I’ve read so far and can’t wait to finally get back into it now I’m feeling a lot better. Will admit I’m a little scared of having to wait for Darkdawn after finishing this though.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

You’re probably seeing a pattern here right? I’m SO glad I finally got around to reading this book because, as expected, I absolutely freaking adore it. Nevernight is basically the story of Mia joining Murder Hogwarts and I love me some boarding school stories AND assassins, this is honestly the perfect book for me. Also, it may have broken me for a day or two as well. I made a YouTube video about it. (warnings for a sprinkling of bad language and spoilers after being warned in advance).

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Finding Home: Volume Two by Harri Conner, What Magic is This? by Holly Bourne

Assuming I manage to finish Godsgrave before Darkdawn releases I plan to have a binge read of some graphic novels I have on my TBR at the moment and I received a finished copy of What Magic is This? From the lovely folks at Barrington Stoke this weekend and I think because it’s a nice short read I should be able to fit it in no problem.

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read something recently that you’ve absolutely loved? Tell me all about it!

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

August TBR


So as I thought it might, YALC totally messed with my TBR plans for the month. I may have brought…a few books. I think I might have to be extra lucky to get through all six of these this month but you never know!

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff
My next read after Nevernight for obvious reasons. I hear the cliffhanger endings are painful so I’m glad I have these two to read together and then not too long of a wait for Darkdawn releasing in September!

X-Men: Days of Future Past by Alex Irvine
I did start reading this last month but ended up putting it on hold due to wanting to get my YALC reads finished so I’m getting back to it this month alongside my rewatching of all the X-Men films because I love them, even the bad ones.

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell
I was excited to be approached by a publisher I hadn’t worked with before and offered a review copy of Lisa Jewell’s new book in exchange for an honest review, I wasn’t sure at first as my TBR is somehow still growing at a painful rate but I checked out the synopsis and I was sold. “You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box. But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly. Now you and your sister must find a way to survive…”

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
This was a YALC buy, I had actually picked up two other books in a two for £7 deal when the bookseller told me they also did three for £10 and recommended The Kingdom. I was getting low on bag space so thought to decline when she mentioned that the book was essentially, “imagine Disney princesses but they’re A.I” as I’m sure you can guess I caved the moment she mentioned A.I. Lots of people who I spoke to (while holding said book as, like I said, bag space was at an all-time low) recommended the book and said how much they loved it so it got bumped right to this months TBR, it’s only a reasonably short book too so I’m hoping I should be able to fit it in easily.

STAGS by M.A Bennett
So I’ve had STAGS on my Netgalley for ages but after reading and not enjoying The Island by M.A Bennett I had been reluctant to try STAGS for a while, despite all the great reviews I’d heard it’s been getting. I got chatting with one of the booksellers at the Hot Key books stand who went into a bit more depth and showed me the prospectus they had made to go alongside the book and honestly that kind of sold me. STAGS has a sequel called DOGS coming out pretty immanently (I resisted buying it early at YALC in case I didn’t like STAGS in the end) so thought now would be a good time to read it.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power
I’ve been going through my books lately and trying to get rid of ones I really don’t think I’m going to get around to reading and I’d put a few of my arcs up for trade and one I got in return was Wilder Girls. I’d already become intrigued by this book after reading a review from one of the bloggers I’m in a “support” group with (I can’t remember whose blog it was I’m sorry! If I commented on your Wilder Girls review though it was probably you) and so when I was offered this arc in return I jumped at the chance, I’ve seen some beautiful fan art for it recently as well and decided that as it’s out soon I should get to that one asap too.

What is your TBR for the month looking like? If you attended, have you got a lot of books from YALC to read? What book are you most looking forward to reading this month?

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 31st

So in the aftermath of YALC (event report coming tomorrow), it’s time for the last WWW Wednesday of the month.

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?

I am finally reading Nevernight!! With Darkdawn just around the corner and Jay coming to the UK in September it’s finally time. I’m flipping love it so far and I’m almost halfway through already!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Do you Dream of Terra-Two? Just before YALC and I found it pretty underwhelming sadly. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t find it interesting enough for me but I’ll talk more about that in my review to come.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I was going to say definitely Godsgrave next but it depends how Nevernight ends as I do have a growing pile of review copies to read atm and I feel like maybe I should get at least one of them read in between but we’ll see, I know I need it read before September for Darkdawn and MEETING JAY HIMSELF!

Tell me how you’re reading has been going? Have there been any books you didn’t like or DNF? Maybe you read a book you really liked? Tell me about them!