Friday Feature: Man Booker Prize Time Again

I’m pretty sure that last year I decided that no one really cares about the Man Booker Prize, but I still can’t help being intrigued as to what’s made the list.

Following last year’s controversy when it was announced that the prize was being opened up to International authors (with UK Publisher) after 46 years, it seems the longlist is not quite as overrun by American authors as some feared, although they do make up a third of the entries.

The most interesting thing about the nominees this year though, I think, is that one of the novels was funded entirely by its readers. The Wake, by Paul Kingsnorth is the first crowdfunded novel to ever be nominated for such a prestigious literary prize. And I must say, it sounds like one of the more interesting reads on the list.

thewakeEveryone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next…Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, The Wake tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world. Written in what the author describes as ‘a shadow tongue’ – a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader – The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster’s world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.

The Longlist in Full

Joshua Ferris (American) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (American) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)

Siri Hustvedt (American) – The Blazing World (Sceptre)

Howard Jacobson (British) – J (Jonathan Cape)

Paul Kingsnorth (British) – The Wake (Unbound)

David Mitchell (British) – The Bone Clocks (Sceptre)

Neel Mukherjee (British) – The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

David Nicholls (British) – Us (Hodder & Stoughton)

Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) – The Dog (Fourth Estate)

Richard Powers (American) – Orfeo (Atlantic Books)

Ali Smith (British) – How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Niall Williams (Irish) – History of the Rain (Bloomsbury)

The Shortlist will be announced 9th Sept

More info on the nominees and titles

Thoughts?

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #6

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts so there should be lots to talk about but….

1. Why is it that every time I come to write this post I completely forget about all the things I wanted say? It’s like a curse. I even leave links to things I wanted to mention in a draft post, but by the time I come to write it, I’ve forgotten what I had to say about it. Must try harder.

2. Does anyone remember Jim Henson’s The Storyteller? I loved it so much. My memory of it was jogged because it’s being made into a graphic novel and it looks stunning. I’m kind of on a graphic novel kick since Comic Con a few weekends back. But more on that later.

Archaia, the official publisher of Jim Henson comics and graphic novels, is launching a new comics miniseries based on one of Henson’s franchises. The Storyteller: Witches will focus on different folk tales just like the television series from the late ’80s. The Storyteller featured a narrator sitting in a cozy chair by the fireplace; he told viewers about magical creatures and happenings. As the Storyteller wove his tales, you watched them come to life before your eyes.

More info and photos here!

3. How have I only just discovered Gay of Thrones?????. It’s brilliant.


 
4. I was thinking about publisher websites the other day. I rarely go on them and wonder if maybe I should? I know some publishers have their own reading groups and forums, and some seem to have their own reading services for bloggers. I only really use NetGalley, but now I’m starting to think maybe I’m missing out..Am I…AM I?

5. Two really good things (and one potentially bad thing) came out of my weekend spent at the first YA Lit Convention (YALC) which took place at London Comic Con a couple of weeks ago:

5.1 It definitely seemed to start a buzz about YA in this country and hopefully the genre will continue to go from strength to strength and maybe even gain some credibility – stranger things have happened.

In the News:
The Guardian – Why You Should YA

The Telegraph – YALC Review

Grown-Ups: You can read YA!

5.2. It inspired me to dust off my unfinished YA manuscript which I’ve been ‘working’ on for YEARS. I hadn’t even looked at it for about 18 months, and it was pretty much as bad as I feared, but I’m enjoying the puzzle that is a complete rewrite. For now!

5.3. My slight obsession over Peter Petrelli Milo ventimiglia has come back with a vengeance after seeing him in all his bearded glory at Comic Con. My friend Dora and I had a film night at the weekend consisting of the classic that is Pathology (hot) and this HILARIOUSLY bad Hammer Horror-esque vampire porn. Hello.


 
My review of YALC and LFCC can be found here: Part 1 / Part 2

6. I went to see Begin Again, the new Kiera Knightley film and I actually quite liked it (the trailer looked pretty awful). There’s just something I love about films about musicians. Maybe it’s because I wish I was musical, but I’m so far from it – I barely know what an instrument is. I quite like music-based books too and found this list of YA Music-Based Books on MTV.com the other day. Oh look, my wishlist just expanded.

7. I’ve been back on a healthy eating & more exercise mission the last few weeks. It’s going pretty well. I made THE best tuna burgers the other day. Seriously, THE BEST!

8. I’m kinda over the summer already. I want it to be Winter. I love Winter! I want cosy nights in, hot chocolate, mulled wine and fairy lights, and I want it now. I’m sick of getting sunburnt, I’m sick of hayfever and my constantly itchy face and I got biten all over my legs the other weekend so I’ve had to cover them up. It’s too hot for that. Roll on Christmas.

9. I can’t shake the idea of moving somewhere new. I’ve been wanting to do it for ages but it’s hard to know where to start. I think I need a new adventure.

10. I’ve been using Pinterest for a while and I really like it. It took me a while to figure out what the point of it was, but I think I have now. I’ve started using it to post about my blog too, not many seem to do it, and I wonder why…

Well, that’s what’s been on my mind lately. You should join the fun and tell us what’s on yours!

Of River & Reyn: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

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Title: Immortal Beloved
Series: Immortal Beloved #1
Author: Cate Tiernan
Edition: Paperback, 400 Pages
Published: September 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal
Disclosure? Not really, I got it for free from YALC UK

Goodreads
Purchase

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with this book. It started off pretty dire to be honest and I was just about to give up on it when I glanced at some of the reviews on Goodreads. Most of them said the same – a terrible start but that it gets much better. So I persevered.

I guess I am glad that I did, because it did get much better, but I’m still not entirely convinced.

Immortal Beloved starts with our protagonist Nastasya and her group of friends whose entire mission in life is to party all night and sleep all day. It’s all a bit cliched. We soon learn that they are immortal, and apparently the only way to spend their time is to get wasted and hook up with each other, or any willing mortals they can find.

I found the whole thing pretty boring and repetitive.

The point at which something worthwhile happens is when Nastasya’s best friend/sort-of boyfriend/immortal life partner, Incy uses ‘magick’ to break a cab driver’s back for no apparent reason. This, thankfully, doesn’t sit well with Nastasya. She develops a conscience overnight, realising what a terrible path she she is on with her terrible immortal friends, and she decides to leave.

She runs away to America to find River, an immortal she met a hundred-or-so- years earlier when she was involved in a car crash. River, a mysterious, hippy-type, had told Nastasya to seek her out at River’s Edge when she’s ready to be a better person.

I couldn’t help but think that this is where the book should had started – instead of the mess that was the first 70 pages – then as a reader we’d wonder what had driven her to this point, and the cab-driver incident could be revealed in a flashback. But it’s not my book, what do I know!?

River’s Edge turns out to be a working farm, which acts as a sort of rehab to immortals who want to be reminded to appreciate every day.

Because of the relative length of our lives, so many things lose importance or become lost themselves [...] we forget how to value things, how to feel things. We forget how to love. [...] What we start off doing here is to give you a crash course in relearning the significance of moments, of minutes.

I did kind of like that idea, but the constant descriptions of Natasya scrubbing vegetables and washing dishes in order to appreciate every moment was just way too dull. It was like she’d entered into the dullest cult on the planet.

However, there were a few saving graces in this book. Enter Reyn – the viking-esque, grumpy hottie whom Nastaya recognises but can’t place. Between Reyn and good magick classes, Nastasya starts having flashbacks to when she was growing up in Iceland (another saving grace) before she knew she was immortal.

Without giving away the whole plot, let’s just say that Reyn becomes Nastasya’s public enemy #1, but he’s just so damn hot! Can she resist him?

Thwooooarrrrr!

And that, my friends is the ONLY reason I have to continue with the series. Hot, Viking Reyn – a combination of Eric Northman and Hemsworth’s Thor in my mind. More please.

unicorn rating 2

Immortal Beloved is available in paperback from Waterstones. Click here to see how you can get 10% off.

WWW Wednesday 22.07.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Hope you’re all having a good Wednesday – the weekend will be here before we know it. Hurrah!

Here are my answers to those burning Ws this week…

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Currently Reading: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I’m almost finished with this one, and I’ve loved every minute of it, as I knew I would. Any fans of the film will love it too.

Recently Finished: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
I had a lot of issues with this book, but I’m kind of addicted to its badness. I’ve scheduled my review/rant to go out tomorrow so check back then :)

Up Next: ???
Probably Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) or The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass Novellas) by Sarah J. Maas, but it should be A Midsummer Night’s Dream as I was supposed to read it in June for the Once Upon A Time challenge…but I failed.

Top Ten Tuesday: Desert Island Companions

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten characters you would want to be stranded on a desert island with.

I was really excited about this topic when I first saw it, but then I totally hit a blank. The only ones I could come up with were ones that surely everyone will choose (Katniss, Tris etc – everyone who could do all the hard work so I could sit back and relax on the beach), but after some brainstorming I came up with the following. And I still had to include Katniss – it’s impossible not to, SOZ.


Katniss (The Hunger Games)

Let’s just get it out of the way. She’d do all the hunting and cooking, and I’d make her bracelets out of foliage. Or something.

Let’s Break it down: 80% Skillz & Protection; 15% in the hope that Gale would come and rescue us; 5% for company


Katsa & Po (Graceling)

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I think they’d both be pretty handy on a desert island, and even though they’re a couple, they wouldn’t make you sick with loveydovey nonsense because they’re all about getting things done. They’re both pretty hot, and kick-ass (despite becoming blind in Po’s case).

Let’s Break it down: 60% Skillz & Protection; 40 % Hotness & Company

Dimitri (Vampire Academy)

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He can be a bit of an idiot sometimes for sure, but I’m sure I could take his mind off Rose for a while. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t be frantically trying to make a raft out of my back hair if I was stuck on an island with him. Not that I have back hair, of course.

Let’s Break it down: 80% Hotness; 20% Skillz & Protection

Jeff (Dark Eden)

Jeff was the pretty much the only likeable character in Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden, and he’d be totally useful on a desert island. He’d make shoes out of leaves and find a bizarre species of animal to tame and breed. He’d probably figure out how to use a tree to catapult them home or something.

Let’s Break it down: 100 % Skillz & Intelligence

Captain Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

No doubt Captain Thorne would think he’d have all the answers but they probably wouldn’t quite work out so you’d be stuck there for a while. It wouldn’t really matter though, he’d keep you entertained.

Let’s Break it down: 100 % for the LOLZ & Company

Westley & Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)

This is my current read and although I’m a huge fan of the film, it’s the first time I’ve read Goldman’s book – I love it. I think having both Westley (for the swoon) and Inigo (for protection and the lolz) stuck on an island with me would be swell. Both of them would be full of stories, and they know how to look after a lady. I can be that lady!

Let’s Break it down: 50% for the LOLZ & Company; 25% for the Skillz; 25% Hotness

Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia)

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It’s usually pretty hard to pin Aslan down. He generally turns up just when you need him and disappears again straight after so you never get to ask all those burning questions for have for him. You’d definitely have time to do that on a deserted island. Plus, he could breathe on some fire wood to set it alight, or heal you if you chop your own hand off with a makeshift machete.

Let’s Break it down: 70% Company; 30% Skillz & Protection

Peter Pan

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He’s pretty cute and clever, and you know, he’s got that whole ‘never grow up’ thing going for him so when you’re getting old and can’t bend down to spear the fish anymore, he’ll be as spritely as the day you washed up on the beach. I would tell him stories and be his Wendy. Obviously.

Let’s Break it down: 50% Skillz; 50% Company

Out Now: Binds That Tie by Kate Moretti

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Title: Binds That Tie
Author: Kate Moretti
Series: N/A
Genre(s): Crime; Thriller
Format(s): Paperback; Kindle
Pages: 340
Published: March 2014 by Red Adept Publishing

Links:
Goodreads
Read an Excerpt
Purchase:
Amazon

Synopsis

Love ties. Murder binds.

Maggie never felt as though she belonged until Chris Stevens showed her what true happiness meant. Ten years into their marriage, miscarriages and infidelities have scarred them both. Despite their perfect-couple image, Maggie can’t look at Chris with anything but resentment. When a charismatic stranger offers the opportunity for a little harmless flirtation, she jumps into the game.

But charm soon turns to malice, and a deadly split-second decision forces Maggie and Chris onto a dangerous path fraught with secrets, lies, and guilt. With no one else to turn to—no one she dares trust—Maggie will ultimately learn just how binding marital ties can be.

Meet the Author

katieKate Moretti is the New York Times Bestselling author of the women’s fiction novel, Thought I Knew You. Her second novel Binds That Tie was released in March 2014. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and a dog. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life.

She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like.

Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway. (ME TOO!)

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Say Whaaaaaat?

“It was almost impossible to put this book down. The suspense was intense. The storyline powerful.” - Meghan, Goodreads

Binds That Tie is a page-turning, plot-twisting, gripping crime novel that will suck you in from the very first word and make your jaw drop at the end.”

-Sarah DiCello, Amazon

“I was hooked from the beginning….. Binds That Tie is a real page turner, full of sympathetic and flawed characters struggling to make their relationships work, but who end up being their own worst enemies.” -W.S Haggard, Goodreads

*Fangirl Alert* Upcoming Release!

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The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Title: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #2
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Expected Publication: March 10th 2015 by Random House Children’s Books (Hardback)
Goodreads

I did a bit of a squeal when I saw that the sequel to Seraphina had been announced. Seraphina was one of my favourite books of last year (making it to #4 on my Top Ten Books of 2013). I read it shortly before I started blogging so unfortunately I don’t have a review of it, but this is what I posted on Goodreads:

Love love loved it. Dragons, Castles, Princes and Princesses but different than the usual bumpf. I think I’ll be reading this again in the future.”

And now I have the perfect excuse to reread and review it, before Shadow Scale is released.

Not that I ever need an excuse.

March is so far away!

Lazy Saturday Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cress
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Author: Marissa Meyer
Edition: Paperback, 550 pages
Published: February 6th 2014 by Puffin Books
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads
Purchase

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

What can I say about Cress that hasn’t been said already? Very little probably! Is it amazing? YES. Is it a compelling, satisfying continuation of what I’ve already declared to be my favourite new series? YES. But is it too long? Hell YES.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book. I loved Meyer’s galactic take on Rapunzel, I loved the dynamics between Scarlet and Wolf, and Cress an Captain Thorne (bless her) but I do think it went on a bit in places, no?

To be fair, it might be because I was really busy at the time of reading it, so I was grabbing just a few minutes here and there to read, but sometimes I felt myself skimming parts.

However, that just makes me want to read it again in more substantial sittings because ahhhhhh, on the whole, I can’t stop fangirling over this series.

I still can’t get over how it shouldn’t work. Fairy-tale retellings meets Star Wars, with a bit of Dystopia thrown in…I mean it sounds ridiculous, but it’s just not. Cress, felt even more Star Wars-y to me than Cinder did, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m just trying to figure out who Darth Vader is, Sybil or Levana?

(Anywaaayyyyy) Towards the end of Cress, we’re introduced to Princess Winter. And wow, how batshit is she!? I’m quite upset how long we have to wait for the next book. I have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to be amazing.

I need to know what happens with Cinder and Kai RIGHT NOW!

unicorn rating 4

The Lunar Chronicles is now available in paperback from Waterstones. See how you can get 10% off here.

YALC UK – Day Two

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If you missed my Day One post, click here.

On Sunday we arrived at Earl’s Court a bit more refreshed and prepared for what lay ahead compared to Saturday. We took solace in the fact that we actually had tickets and knew where everything was this time. We were also hoping to explore a bit more of the LFCC in between the book talks and signings.

The queue was still ridiculous but thankfully a lot more organised, and we got in after about an hour. We got tickets for all of talks that day but thought we might skip one or two to explore the rest of the comic con. When I say explore, I mean stalk Peter Peter Petrelli, the Game of Thrones cast and keep checking if Giles returned. He never did. :(

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Murder Most Magical

With Ben Aaronovitch, Paul Cornell and Suzanne McLeod

The first event we attended was actually on the LFCC schedule rather than the YALC one, and it was all about crime fiction with a magical twist, based in London. Despite not having read any of the author’s books I really loved this talk. Dora is a big fan of Ben Aaronovitch, and after the talk we headed to the signing area to get one of her books signed.

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How to Get Published

With Phil Earle and Sally Green, chaired by Ben Horslen (Penguin Books)

This talk on how to get published was a great opportunity for any aspiring writer such as myself. I picked up some great tips, and felt pretty inspired to be honest. It’s been a long time since I thought about the novel I’ve been working on (or not) for years and this really put some wind back in my sails again.

Sally Green, author of one of this year’s biggest YA debuts, Half Bad, came across as really lovely, but I couldn’t help be envious of her story. Everything just seemed to fall into place for her quite easily.

On the other hand, Phil Earle shared his experiences too, and he seemed to have had more of a struggle with the publishing process so it was good to get that different perspective. The talk was chaired by an editor from Penguin too, and he gave some valuable insights into the editor/author relationship.

Crossover: Not Just for Kids

With Matt Haig, Anthony McGowan, Nick Lake and Meg Rosoff, chaired by David Maybury

After having a wander, and debating whether it was worth spending £20 to hug Peter Petrelli (we decided against it), we got back to catch the end of I’m too Sexy for This Book which was a talk we weren’t too bothered about but on hindsight I wished we’d stayed for. They talked a lot about LGBT sex in YA fiction and it sounded like an interesting discussion.

The next talk, about YA being a crossover genre was the one I was most looking forward to that day, and oh my, it did not disappoint. It was definitely the most controversial talk of the weekend, mainly thanks to Anthony McGowan playing devil’s advocate.

I don’t even know where to start, firstly he offended quite possibly most of the audience by saying that adults should be ashamed to read YA. He then went on to say how terrible Twilight and The Hunger Games are and that all YA fiction should be realistic and based in high school…what the hell?

It wasn’t completely serious though, there was a lot of banter, and the other panelists did a good job of shooting him down, but I was slightly miffed. I liked how Nick Lake went on a rant about why he thinks Twilight IS a great book.

One of things that came up in this talk and had been popping up in a lot of the talks, was about the term YA being relatively new. They posed the question of if The Lord of the Flies was released now, would it be classed as YA? They put it to Anthony that most of the books he considers classics would be classified as YA today. It managed to shut him up for a while.

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Read the bloody books you want to read!’

-Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now) was brilliant.

‘It’s a desperate fallacy that a book has to be complex to be worthwhile’

-Nick Lake (Hostage Three)

Sisters Doing it For Themselves

With Tanya Byrne, Isobel Harrop, Julie Mayhew, Holly Smale and Sarra Manning

This was another one of the talks that on paper, I wasn’t too bothered about but I’m really glad I attended. There was a lot of talk about how the likes of Katniss are great characters, but present an unrealistic view of girls. They asked the question, why do we have to be physically strong to be a heroine, or thought of as a strong female character?

I thought the authors did a really great job on this panel, not to mention that they managed to sneak in that perfect Joss Whedon quote. Tanya Byrne especially won me over, talking about how she is careful to never describe her female characters as thin or beautiful and just letting the reader picture them however they wish. I must read her books!

Holly Black & Sally Gardiner in conversation

The closing talk of YALC was all about fairy tales and magic – perfect! I was particularly excited because I love Holly Black a little bit. I feel like me and Holly Black need to be friends, and this only confirmed it all the more.

Afterwards we just had time to grab some free books (YAY) and head over to Holly’s signing table to get my copy of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown signed. She was lovely, of course, and she liked my unicorn t-shirt. We’ll be BFFs before you know it.

Random Happenings:

  • GILES NEVER CAME BACK :(
  • Following Peter Petrelli around was pretty fun
  • I didn’t realise how popular T.J Thyne (Bones) is, his signing queue was constantly huge
  • It’s really heartbreaking when you see some people with massive queues, and others with none. I felt really sorry for them.
  • Someone gave me a free ticket for a Michael Madsen photo shoot which would have been hilarious, but clashed with the Holly Black talk so I had to give it away.
  • Free Sci-fi books? Oh, OK then!

YALC UK 2014 – Day One

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At the weekend my friend Dora and I attended the UK’s first ever Young Adult Literature Convention which took place as part of London’s Film & TV Comic Con at Earl’s Court (more details here). It was amazing and manic and painful all at the same time. But totally worth it.

Here’s my run-down of day one:

I had been a bad friend and hadn’t booked the advanced tickets in time so we had to go and queue to buy tickets on Saturday morning. We got there at about 9am, slightly hungover and very tired from a late-night outdoor Labyrinth screening the night before.

When we saw the queue we wanted to cry. It was so busy, and unorganised, and the closer we got to the door, the more people were trying to push in. The Rage set in. But we amused ourselves by admiring all of the costumes, and there was a nice man and his seven year old Spiderman son in front of us who were lovely.

There were also some guys promoting the new book by Joe Abercrombie, ( which is on my wishlist) by giving people rides on their Viking Wheelbarrow which was amusing.

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After just over 2 1/2 hours, a lot of standing, and some sunburn later, we made it inside. And oh holy hell, it was not a good place to be with a hangover. People EVERYWHERE. Hot, sticky and no air. But luckily we had the forefront to ask the guy on box office where the YALC area was so we knew where to aim for – otherwise we may never have found it. It was worse than trying to get to the barrier at a festival.

The good news is that we made it, and there was a bit more breathing space that end. The bad news was that we’d missed the first talk were hoping to attend, The On-going Appeal of Dystopia. Instead we collected tickets for the other talks that were available and checked out all the book swag, and the publisher’s area including the Hot Key Books’ book swap which was a genius idea.

Going Graphic: From Novels to Graphic Novels

With Ian Edgington, Marcus Sedgwick, Emma Vieceli and Sarah McIntyre

 
The first talk we attended was one that we actually weren’t too bothered about initially, we just wanted to sit down to be honest but I’m so glad we went, it was great. Sarah McIntyre chaired the event in an awesome cosplay and discussed the process of adapting a novel into a graphic novel.

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Marcus Sedgwick was the only one on the panel whose work I was familiar with, and I’d been wanting to get a hold of his graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills for ages, so it was lovely to hear him discuss his experience of writing it, compared to writing a novel.

Emma Vieceli, was full of enthusiasm for her work on illustrating The Vampire Academy graphic novels (which I really, really want now!) and talked about her new web-comic Brakes which she has written as well as illustrated.

It was really interesting to hear the panel talk about how to turn classics such as Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace into a graphic novel.

After the talk I wanted to buy a copy of Emma’s Vampire Academy but they didn’t have it, however both Dora and I bought one of her Manga Shakespeare books (we’re easily converted) and headed over to Emma’s signing table to get them signed. She was so lovely. I couldn’t resist telling her what a good job she’d done with Dimitri – Manga Dimitri is so hot, you guys.

We also headed to Marcus Sedgwick’s signing, and he was the nicest man ever. He chatted away to Dora about Poland (where she’s from) as he’d lived there for a while, and was planning on taking his partner there this summer. I got my favourite book by him signed, and he drew a coffin in it – he knows me so well already!

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Bring me my Dragons: Writing Fantasy Today

With Frances Hardinge, Amy McCulloch, Jonathan Stroud and Ruth Warburton, chaired by Marc Aplin

 
We didn’t actually have tickets for this talk but we got back just as they were finishing the introductions and there were still some spare seats so we sat down. After that I’m not really sure what happened to be honest. There seemed to be a lot tangents going on, and definitely no talk of dragons. The early start and sunburn perhaps got the better of me.

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Heroes of Horror

With Charlie Higson, Will Hill, Derek Landy and Darren Shan, chaired by Rosie Fletcher

 
Thankfully we managed to perk up for the final talk, because two of my favourite British writers were on the panel – Darren Shan and Derek Landy, and it was hilarious as well as interesting!

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A lot of the discussion revolved around how much is too much in YA Horror. And the answer? You can get away with anything, apart from decapitating mothers! Both Landy and Shan also discussed the beauty of publishing long series and how you grow as a writer, alongside your characters, from book 1 to book 12.

Random Happenings:

  • I knew Rainbow Rowell was popular but woah! Her signing queue was INSANE. They were everywhere, and most people had like four books to sign. Crazy!
  • I really wanted to go and talk to Lucy Saxon who didn’t have anyone in her signing queue when we got there, but I couldn’t justify buying another book. I really enjoyed her book Take Back the Skies, despite the ending, and she looked awesome, but it’s not really the done thing is it…just walking up for a chat with nothing to get signed!?
  • I was proper fangirling over the fact that Juliet Landau (Drusilla from Buffy) was there, and half way through the day they set up a place for Anthony Head (GILES) next to her but he was never there :( I was totally willing to spend £20 to talk to him. GILES!!
  • While we were waiting for the first talk, Stan Lee walked past us to get to his Photo Shoot area. It was pretty cool.

Don’t worry if you missed YALC, look out for my post of Day 2, and I’ll also be posting a gallery and links to the best news coverage of the event – you’ll feel like you were there by the end of it.