Archive for July, 2015


I’ve recently had a few ‘issues’ with my reading – I may have called it a lost-reading-mojo or something, but if I’m honest, I think it’s more to do with pressure… and mainly pressure on myself.

I’ve bought quite a few books this summer, mainly because of YALC, and I’ve just re-arranged my bookshelves. I have a ridiculous number of books which I really want to read.. some of these are proof copies from publishers, many are bought, but they’re all yelling at me to read them NOW – all of them at once!

When I do choose a book to read, I’m very aware of all the others waiting, so if I’m not loving it, I start to wonder if I should move on to something else. But, I don’t want to miss out on a good book, so I get caught up deciding whether to continue or not.

And then there are my review copies. Some do just come in the post, but most I’ve asked for (and sometimes begged!). Most of the time I do love what I’ve asked for, and I happily review it, and shout about it on twitter. Sometimes though, I realise that it’s not what I expected, or it’s just not working for me. Then I get hit with guilt.. I feel bad that I asked (or begged) for it, that I took a copy someone else may have had, that the publishers will hate me, that they’ll never send me anything again. 😦

A while ago, I decided to stop reviewing. It was quite good for me, but it only lasted a few months. It’s very difficult to resist a good proof when it’s offered, despite the pile of books sitting beside my bed, looking accusingly at me. And by reviewing, I’ve discovered some awesome books which may have otherwise passed me by. Books are my passion, and getting to review some of them early is a huge part of that.

So, this time I’m going for some sort of compromise. I’ve been resisting some offers and give-aways, but I’m not stopping completely – I’m just trying to be very selective in what I ask for / accept. I’m also trying not to buy anything for a while (if you see me in Waterstones, or on Amazon, please slap my wrist!) but I do know something somewhere will tempt me before long!

I’m also – and this is the hardest bit – not going to pressure myself so much with review copies. If I’m not getting on with a book, even if I requested it, I’m going to put it down.. and maybe come back to it if I think it will work with a second chance. I’m a busy working mum, and my reading time is limited, so it’s pointless for me to struggle with something which isn’t working.

I also can’t restrict myself to review books only. Reading is my relaxation and my escape, and I have gorgeous bought books which need my attention as well.

Publishers – I’m so sorry if you send me a book, and I can’t review it. Hopefully the next one will work better, and I’ll be shouting on twitter for everyone to buy it. If you choose not to send any more though, then I’ll sadly accept that, because I do appreciate that your review copies are limited.

Bloggers / Reviewers – am I the only one who feels like this? Are you well organised, and keep on top of things, or do you have to make compromises? Any other advice?


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Why is YALC so awesome…?

So this was the 2nd year that I attended YALC, and it was bigger and better than the first one. Twitter was buzzing with book talk all weekend, and it continued into Monday. There were some issues, of course, but these are mainly related to the venue, and were out of the organiser’s hands. On the whole though, YALC has been a massive success – so why is this?

I’ve been mulling it over, and for me, I think it’s success lies in the fact that there was something for everyone, and it was possible to make the weekend whatever you wanted it to be.

For some, this meant attending the panels, and hearing their favourite authors discuss various issues – whilst others wanted to grab that early spot in the signing queues! And when it came to the authors, it seemed that some had come purely to see a favourite author (Cassandra Clare and Carrie Hope Fletcher in particular) whilst others wanted to see as many as possible (there were *suitcases* full of books!)

The other lovely thing about YALC is that everyone is so friendly – I saw groups of people meeting up, chilling in the book area, and introducing their friends to other friends – and yet at the same time, it was perfectly ok to sit quietly by yourself, just taking it all in, or even reading that new book you’d just bought!

There were lots of freebies to collect, and lots of books to buy at some good prices. The publishers were lovely, and many of the authors were wandering around on the stands, as well as their ‘official’ signing space.

For me, I met loads of great authors, publishers, bloggers and book lovers – despite feeling shy, anxious, and rather tired. There were books I sadly left at home, due to lack of space in my bag, and books I had to sadly leave un-bought (but hey, have you *seen* my TBR pile?!)

But for others, the experience may have been completely different…

And that’s what makes YALC so awesome!

(PS Did I mention chatting to Chris Riddell?! Double awesome! 😀 )

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YALC 2015


Last year I managed to go to the 1st ever YA Literature Convention, which I absolutely loved. So, when tickets were announced for this year, I knew I had to be there, and my weekend ticket was booked!

I only intended to pop up for a short visit on the Friday, but I was then invited to a publisher’s blogger’s bunch in the morning, so it turned into a long day. I arranged to meet someone at Victoria, so we could travel to the venue together, and once there I got to chat to the authors, and other bloggers.

We then moved on to YALC, which was so much bigger than last year. They’d managed to get a whole floor (well, shared with a small gaming section) so everything was spread out. There were lots of freebies, and loads of excellent publisher stands, as well as the gorgeous book zone, with bean bags and a book wall!

On Saturday I returned with my daughter – we started off by going downstairs to the LFCC (London Film and Comic Con) – this was also bigger than last year, and I think even more crowded. We did quite well until about 11:30, when it suddenly started *really* filling up – and after walking around in circles for a bit, we finally made it back upstairs.

Highlights for Beth were listening to the Carrie Hope Fletcher panel, and then meeting her whilst she had her book signed. She also met Holly Smale for the 2nd year running.

For me, Saturday brought the highlight of my weekend – Chris Riddell turned up to join in, and I got a book signed, we chatted, and I have my own Chris Riddell drawing! Beth was suitably impressed with his artistic skills.

On Sunday I awoke early with a migraine, so I couldn’t go until my medications got rid of that, but I made it back. Everything was just as busy, and I got more of my books signed.

For me, YALC continued to be about meeting fabulous authors, and getting books signed. A couple I had met before, but there were many new ones. It always amazes me how friendly they are, always ready for a chat as they sign, and often recognising me from twitter. A couple even recognised me from last year!

As well as this though, YALC 2015 was about meeting in person the people I chat to on twitter, as well as a few I hadn’t yet met – I said hi to some lovely publishers whom I’m often pestering about review copies, plus lots of lovely bloggers and book lovers from twitter.

I’m scared to make a list of whom I met, because I know I’ll miss some, but a special shout out to a few..

Michelle Toy (@chellytoy) – who let me meet her in Victoria, made sure I was introduced to people, and generally kept a eye out for me!
James Smythe and Alexia Casale – who both recognised me from meeting me last year.. that’s a good memory!
Fleur, Emily and Anne from Chapter 5 – one of my most favourite publishers! 
C J Daugherty – who was happy to sign my book, even though I hadn’t read it – and who seems to be one of the nicest authors on twitter.
Chicken House publishers – thank you for the brunch, for the review copies, and for introducing me to a bunch of new, awesome authors.
Helen Maslin – Darkmere really is that good, you know!
Rosy (@reviewdiaries) – who kept me company when we first got in on Friday
@catrad (I’m so sorry, I don’t even know your name!) who was so lovely, and we got to meet Sarah Pinborough together. 
Dawn Kurtagich – who was very lovely for someone who’s written a very disturbing (very good) book!
Chris Riddell – highlight of my weekend!

To EVERYONE involved in YALC, thank you so much for the experience – the wonderful organisers, the enthusiastic publishers, the passionate, friendly bloggers and book lovers who attend… and of course the AWESOME authors!! See you all next year!?

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