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!

 

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.

 

#SixforSunday

S4S – Books set in Schools

Six for Sunday

Continuing with the back to school theme (don’t even talk to me about actual school right now) this weeks theme from Steph at A Little but A Lot is “Books set in schools” I think I’ve discovered a trend I like in books…Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
An obivous one I know but I love the whole boarding school setting and I’m not sure if I discovered this because I read Harry Potter or because it reminds me of Harry Potter. Either way, I like it and I think good ole Hogwarts had a part to play in that so I had to include it. 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This probably feels as predictable as Harry Potter for me at this point as I’ve not been able to stop raving about this book and the rest of the Nevernight Chronicles for the past few weeks but I really loved Mia’s time in the Red Church and is in part a reason why this book has become one of my all-time favourites. For those who have yet to read Nevernight, the Red Church is basically Murder Hogwarts for wood-be assassins. 

The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
The prestigious academy which Hugo lives on the grounds of in The Starlight Watchmaker is fascinating and full of so many different species of aliens who are all learning the skills they will need to lead and shape their worlds in the future, I loved reading about it. 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Another boarding school setting, this time it’s a flight school where the pupils are trained to shoot defend their homes from an alien threat that has plagued them for years, not to mention that completing the programme and becoming a pilot of prestigious in itself!

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and other authors
So this book collects all of the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy short stories into one and although the content within a lot of these stories stretches further than the academy itself, the main storyline itself that the smaller ones are embedded into all take place within the academy. I loved this collection a lot more than I thought I would. 

Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
A manga instead of a novel but still counts, Vampire Knight mainly takes place at Cross Academy where human students attend the school during the day and vampires at night. This one is totally a boarding school again too, apparently, this is a thing.

Also, honourable mention to Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori is one of my favourite mangas and takes place almost solely in a school for rich kids (actually not a boarding school though, shock horror) where a “poor” honours student accidentally breaks a vase worth 3 million yen and works with the school host club to earn back the money. I would have put this on the list but I thought of Vampire Knight first.

Do you have a favourite fictional school? If so which one? When I was younger I always wanted to go to Cackles Academy from The Worst Witch (another honourable mention as I somehow forgot it when making this list).

 

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!

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!