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.

 

#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).

 

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

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, Tags

Bank holiday tag

tag ThursdayExcept not Thursday because Bank Holiday Reasons.

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Oh my gosh, what is this?! A book tag on a MONDAY! This is madness! Actually, it’s just because here in the UK it’s a Bank Holiday Monday and I’m doing a slightly different tag this upcoming Thursday so you get extra posts this week, lucky you! This tag is actually from the lovely Cora from Tea Party Princess and I couldn’t resist giving it a go so thank you, Cora!

Have a lie-in. Which book could you lounge in bed with all morning?

I can’t have super long lay-ins or I get headaches buuuut I would love to sit and snuggle up in bed on a lovely morning to read the Heartstopper books by Alice Oseman.

Oh my goodness, it’s actually sunny outside! A book that makes you feel optimistic.

Strangely I think this would be Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James but this has so many great messages behind it and one is what it means to be human and how we, as humans, endure in the way that only we can.

Spend some time outdoors. A book that reminds you of nature

The Warrior Cat books! The cats in these (for the most part) are wild cats with their own clans and territory and I love seeing how they approach certain things in nature, for example, their use of herbs by their healer cats to help with injuries and illnesses.

Make some punch. A book that you find difficult to classify into one genre.

I feel like maybe Sanctuary by V.V James is a hard one to classify because it feels contemporary but because of the inclusion of witchcraft, it tilts it towards the paranormal or fantasy side of things, perhaps urban fantasy but also a thriller AND a  mystery! It has everything!

Pass some food around. A book you want to share with everyone.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James is one of my all-time favorite books and I recommend it to anyone who will listen.

Light the BBQ. A book that took a while to get going.

Nevernight, I love it to death but it definitely took a little while to really get into it but once I was hooked that was it. I’m in for life now.

Failed BBQ. A book that ultimately disappointed you.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. It wasn’t a bad book by any means but I just found it far too predictable for my taste and I think  went into it expecting it to be fantasy in a way that it wasn’t, I am however enjoying the kind of sequel/follow up/companion book for it The Girl the Sea Gave Back however.

It’s raining. Of course. A book to curl up with when it’s raining outside.

This might seem a strange one but I think for me this would be A Discovery of Witches, it’s rare that I like huge books but A Discovery of Witches is one that I really enjoy and I can imagine the rain pouring down the windows in a lot of the scenes.

Let’s just eat chocolate. A book that’s super sweet.

The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil, it’s absolutely gorgeous and every page is gloriously sweet, from the art style and the characters, the story and the Tea Dragons themselves.

As usual, I won’t tag anyone but if you would like to give this tag a go feel free but let me know so I can check out your answers!

book reviews, book talk, booktube, spoiler free

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Book Review
29845906._SY475_
Nevernight 
by Jay Kristoff

Rating: XXXX

Published: July 25th 2016

“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of the words. A girl with a story to tell.”

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.

So I finally did it, I read Nevernight and I have a sinking feeling it may be one of my favourite books I’ve ever read. I apologise to everyone who has been telling me to read it these past few years, I’m sorry it took me so long to read it so that’s all that matters right?

I must admit I had some trouble at first, although the start is cleverly written it drags a little while the story is set up and you get used to the writing style as well as the footnotes. Footnotes probably don’t sound too bad but some of the ones in Nevernight are half a page long and yes, you could probably ignore them but honestly, some of them are hilarious, they’re fun and a lot of them are actually pretty interesting and tell little tales of their own. The main problem I had was not that they distracted from the story although they did do that a little it wasn’t too much of a problem it was more the fact that I kept losing my place after reading said footnote which was a little jarring. There are fewer footnotes as the book moves on and I got a bit better at keeping my place, I also listening to a fair bit of this via audiobook which reads them out as part of the story which is kind of perfect, to be honest. I’m not the hugest fan of the way the narrator reads the book, he sounds a bit off but after a while, you get used to the style and I find it preferable to getting lost reading footnotes.

Once Mia arrives at the Red Church (I wouldn’t class this as a spoiler as it’s part of the synopsis) things really pick up, I’ve affectionately named this part “Mia enrols in murder Hogwarts” because it totally has stabby Harry Potter vibes which feels like a weird way of describing this kind of book (which is an adult book by the way, as I’ve said before, a teenage protagonist does not a YA make and that is defintley the case here) but it just feels a good fit as you get to know Mia and the main characters.

Speaking of characters, I absolutely ADORE Mia. She’s sassy and even when she makes some not great choices she totally owns them which is one of my favourite qualities, it also helps that she could almost certainly murder me in under five seconds without me being any the wiser (if you’re into that sort of thing). She has vulnerable moments too (although there’s no way she’d ever admit to having actual feelings) but it helps to ground her and give her more depth instead of just making her an angry ball of revenge (she’s probably about 85% that as well though). The other church initiates are interesting and all have their own tales to tell and their own reasons to join the church as well as distinctive personalities which I loved learning throughout the book. I found Hush especially interesting and loved the relationship between Mia and Ashlin but Tric stole my damned heart. Mr Kindly also holds a special place in my heart, a sarcastic black cat made of shadows? It’s like he was written for me.

As previously mentioned, the first third dragged a little but was still enjoyable, the rest of the book absolutely flew by and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I’m shocked I didn’t manage to rip them, especially towards the end. There’s a particular moment that feels like it comes out of nowhere and punches you in the face. I reread this part about four times because I wasn’t sure I’d read it right at first and when I realised I had…I might have thrown my book across the room I’m not gonna lie.

This book absolutely rocked my world and at writing this I’m already about 200 pages through Godsgrave, I’m not sure how ready I am for the third book in the trilogy not long after.

If you’ve already read Nevernight and want to know my thought on some of the more spoilery aspects of the book you can check out my book talk video below!