Archive for July, 2014

YALC 2014

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I have always been a ‘reader’, but over the last 10 or so years this has grown to a passionate love of all things connected with books. Running my book forum (10 years old next year!) and reviewing books has put me in contact with authors, publishers, bloggers etc and twitter has been a great medium to keep in touch, and stay up to date.

So, when the 1st ever UK Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) was announced, I just knew I had to get there. The added bonus was that it would be part of the London Film and Comic Con (LFCC), something I was yet to experience. So, tickets were bought, and the excitement grew on twitter as the weekend approached.

On Saturday, after travelling up to Earl’s Court, I stood in awe of the queues formed outside. I had pre booked my tickets, but even that meant joining a queue. And when Patrick Ness tweeted a photo of the crowd inside, I nearly turned around and went home! But I stayed brave, fought my way through the general crowds, and reached the safety of the Book Zone.

The YALC team had set up an area with beanbags, books samples, postcards and other goodies, and there were some publishers there with goodies and very well priced books. Then there were the authors, signing books and chatting to readers.. it was heaven. I got to meet people I knew from twitter, and I got to talk to Patrick Ness and Jonathan Stroud. Everyone was so lovely it was amazing!

Being part of LFCC made things even more special.. I walked past famous people who were doing signings (but they were charging, and I was saving my pennies for more books!) and saw the most mind-blowing costumes. The general atmosphere is something I simply can’t put into words.

On Sunday I got up ready to do it all again, this time with my teen daughter to keep me company. This time we walked straight in, which was a relief, and we settled in for many more authors. I managed to see authors I’d met before, as well as those I knew only from twitter, plus a few new ones. Beth managed to meet Holly Smale and Cat Clarke, two authors whose books she enjoys. It takes a lot for a book to grab her attention, and Geek Girl and Undone most certainly had, so she particularly enjoyed meeting those two. We were also both persuaded to buy books by new authors, which I’m excited to get to.

booksAfter lots of wandering around the LFCC stalls, we also managed to buy a couple of mugs, some badges and a t-shirt.. and that’s on top of all the new books! We finally left feeling exhausted but happy, with lots of gorgeous signed books.  (You can see some photos on my facebook page.)

I have to say a massive thank you to every person who was involved in setting up and running this amazing weekend – and to every author we met there – you’re awesome! Here’s to next year’s YALC!


These are all the authors we met – check them out, they’re all fabulous!

Cat Clarke / Holly Smale / Tanya ByrneNon PrattBeth ReeklesJames DawsonHolly BlackPatrick NessJonathan StroudAlexia CasaleKim CurranJames SmytheKit CoxIsobel Harrop (who kindly signed Isobel’s Journal just for Amy, who didn’t go.)



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I have neglected my blog for some time, but I’ve just experienced my first book launch, which is certainly worthy of a post!

Back in 2011, Headline sent me out a copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I’ve just been back and read my review, and it’s actually more critical than I remember! Oops! However… whereas many books soon disappear into the depths my mind, this one has stood the test of time. For me, this is often the sign of a damn good book – one which I look back on with a lot of fondness, and would even consider re-reading (I’ve only re-read about 6 books in my life!)

Fast-forward a few years, and the final book of the trilogy, The Book of Life, is almost ready for publication. Knowing this re-ignited my excitement for the trilogy, so I was rather happy when in the post appeared a box with a little bottle of wine, straight from Matthew’s cellar (fans of the books will understand) with an invite to a book launch!

I’ve had a few invites before, but I haven’t been able to attend. This one was on a Friday evening, in the middle of summer (light nights for travelling), and was really too good to be missed, so I booked the afternoon off work, and took myself up to London.

The setting, in the Royal Institute ,was lovely, and we were greeted with drinks. After lots of mingling, and looking for people I knew only from Twitter, Deborah arrived, and came around to meet everyone. This was followed by a brilliant Q&A session with Deborah, where we found out lots of interesting information about the books, and Deborah’s writing, including the fact that she cried when she finished the final book!

I came home happily cradling my signed book, a very cool wine glass charm (it’s on the wine bottle in the piccie), a cup cake, and some fantastic memories!

My thanks to the people at Headline who put all this together, especially Caitlin Raynor, hi to all the nice people I met there, and a HUGE thank you to Deborah for coming over, and for being so lovely! It was a great experience, and something I hope to do again in the future.

PS If you’re yet to hear about the All Souls Trilogy, it’s perfect for those who love historical fiction (although much is set in the modern-day world), along with witches, vampires etc. The key to Deborah’s characters is that she asks what would a witch or vampire be like if they were a part of our world.. how would they maintain certain powers, but remain hidden? It certainly makes you wonder what really *could* be going on around us! 🙂

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