Events

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!

Events

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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Events

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!

Events

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 >.<