Patrick Ness Release Premiere @ Curzon Soho – Be more LA, YA! #BookLaunch

Last Wednesday was the premiere launch event for Patrick Ness’ new release, Release, and I was there (not to rub it in or anything), but yayyyy!

For any of you who don’t know, Patrick is the author of several (amazing) YA books including The Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and A Monster Calls which was adapted for the screen recently. He also penned the BBC series Class which has ties to the world of Doctor Who.

The night consisted of an on-stage interview with Patrick, a Q&A with the audience, and a signing. We also got pretty amazing goodie bags (see bottom of post) not to mention the new book a week before its release. *Happy Dance*

ReleasePrem2

© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

 

ReleasePrem3

© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

 

Before I get into some of the topics discussed, let me just say that it’s all paraphrased by me as I didn’t take notes, and my memory is pretty terrible at the best of times, never mind after a tipple or two 😉

Firstly, Patrick discussed  the new book, Release, which is a day in the life of Adam Thorn, ‘the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything.’ 

Patrick talked about being sick of reading gay YA books where the climax of the relationship is two boys holding hands under a tree. It’s not real. Real teenagers have sex. Yes, even gay ones. A great discussion about sex in literature ensued, with Patrick saying that he needed a book like this as a teenager; where gay sex is portrayed in a tender, sweet, and honest way. For books to omit loving, gay sex is damaging. Teenagers think there’s something wrong with it (them), and they turn to other things to explore like porn and Grindr.

He talked about hating the phrase ‘coming to terms with your sexuality’, explaining that he doesn’t think it’s something you have to come to terms with because it’s just who you are. It’s the world’s problem if they can’t handle that. Feel the fear, but do it anyway.

 

 

The discussion about how LGBTQ teens are represented in literature then turned to a broader look at diversity, and Patrick talked about his (many!) nephews and nieces, many of whom are mixed race and multi-cultured. And that’s what the world looks like, if that isn’t represented in books, then it’s not realistic.

Diversity shouldn’t be a tick list, but if that’s what it takes to make sure all people are represented then so be it. He talked passionately about the importance of stories being a mirror. I can’t remember who he said the quote came from but it was that in all good stories, the protagonists are like mirrors – all readers should be able to see themselves in the character – but I whole-heartedly agree with him when he said that it’s only people who are always represented who think everyone can see parts of themselves in characters. And that’s why he didn’t hold back in this book, and The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Recognising yourself in a story is magic… and the world is screaming out for more diverse stories, just look at Angie Thomas’ current success with THUG.

He urges everyone to write their story. If you are not mirrored in the books you read, write that story. Don’t ask permission. Write anyway. Writers don’t just write. They write anyway.

We were then led to the age old YA Vs Adult fiction debate. His definition for the genres was so perfect it made me jaw-drop:

 

YA tends to be about exploring boundaries. Adult tends to be about being trapped by those boundaries.”

 

The book snobbery surrounding YA was mentioned and I loved Patrick’s response. He believes it shouldn’t be a battle. YA shouldn’t be fighting against Adult Lit. There is good stuff everywhere. If you can’t admit that there’s good stuff in other genres you sound like a cult leader (LOL!). His analogy to LA always being slagged off by New Yorkers cracked me up too. Does LA give a shit what NY thinks? Nope. LA says ‘no worries man, come on over and have a good time anyway. Maybe you’ll leave with a different attitude.

Be more LA, YA. Be more LA.

While I agree with him completely, I do get exasperated having to explain the Young Adult genre to people. I work in a prison library and I’m constantly trying get prisoners to engage with reading. I think YA would be perfect for them, but they look at me like I’m mad. But why would you/I read that? It’s for children. Sigh. But no more, I’m going to be more LA, too!

There was lots more discussion, but those were my favourite parts. I’ve also been left with the need to read Mrs Dalloway, and Forever by Judy Blume -both of which inspired Release, and both of which have passed me by.

After the talk and Q&A, my friend Dora and I (and the other 200 -that’s a guess- people) queued to get our books signed. And this is where I feel the need to apologise. The queue was long. I had plenty of time to come up with something great to say to Patrick Ness as he signed my book…

ReleasePrem4

© Alex Dimopoulos for Walker Books

I could have told him what I’ve just told you about being more LA at work. But no.

I could have told him I loved The Rest of Us Just Live Here so much because it reminded me of a Buffy spin-off show concentrating on the minor characters at the school who aren’t in the know about Buffy and the Hellmouth. They witness all the weird shit, but aren’t let in on the big secret. But no.

I could have asked him how he could possibly enjoy redrafting more than getting the story down initially. About how I splurge out all these stories but find it impossible to transform them into a not-hot-mess. But no.

What did I say,  Readers?

I said *dons voice of stupidity* are you bored yet? I mean really. What a Knobular. I can only apologise. Patrick was of course extremely sweet regardless.


Thanks to Walker Books, Waterstones and Curzon, (not to mention the wonderful Patrick Ness himself), for putting on such a great night!

Photographs my own unless otherwise credited.

 

 

 

Advertisements

This Week in Books 26.04.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Hi, blog friends! I’m feeling good this week. I’m loving reading again after months of it feeling like a chore and I’m really enjoying writing posts. Did you catch yesterday’s Norfolk Festival post? I’d love to go to it but I think it’s a bit far away. I have been looking into Lit festivals in general though so I may well do a few more similar posts and hopefully I’ll get to at least one of them this summer.

Anywayyyy…here’s what my week has looked like:

twib17.14.jpg

Now: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve only just picked up the new Sáenz book so nothing to report yet, but after Ari & Dante I have high expectations! I also managed two whole pages of my ‘lunch-time read’ The Time Machine on Monday. Baby steps.

Then: Sucktown, AlaskaCraig Dirkes // Six of Crows ~ Leigh Bardugo 

Last night I finished Sucktown, Alaska. I liked it, but didn’t love it. It was a mega-quick read, even at over 300 pages, which is nice. Before that I finished Six of Crows and I’m not sure what I thought. I found myself getting lost in places, and I don’t think I truly got into it. But I still couldn’t stop reading it. Hmm.

Next: ???

I’m not too sure this time. I might choose something from my physical TBR shelves or could get a head start on The Marsh King’s Daughter which is out in June.

New on the Shelves

 Bought:

I went on another charity shop raid at the weekend…


….and bought a book I already own. *Facepalm*

This was a great find though…

I’m Waiting On…

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Because… it sounds quite quirky and I heard really good things about Silvera’s debut More Happy Than Not (but never did get round to it).

theyboth

 New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.


On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day.

The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.


Expected Publication: September 5th 2017 by HarperTeen

So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Spotlight: Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2017 (May 12th-27th) #Literature #Events #LitFest

Are you thinking about heading to any Lit festivals this year? Well here is everything you need to about one of the biggest in the country –  the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

 

Norfolk and Norwich Festival

 

The Norfolk & Norwich Festival is the flagship arts festival for the East of England, and the fourth biggest in the country. This year it will be running from 12th – 28th May 2017, and boasts an inimitable programme of world-class performance including highlights from Will Self, Siddhartha Bose and a special City of Literature Weekend programme. The full programme, ticket information and more can be found here.

What’s on!?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Will Self: In Conversation at the Norwich Playhouse, Will Self is a man who needs little introduction. From branding Nigel Farage a ‘grubby little man’ on BBC’s Question Time, to criticising the ‘fetishisation’ of freedom of speech, his controversial views often inspire vigorous debate. Will’s newest work is Phone; the third in a trilogy which examines the influence of 20th century technologies on human existence.

Art and Sexuality: Eimear McBride, Sarah Hall and Megan Bradbury share their experiences of articulating sexuality, gender and identity through their creative work as part of Art and Sexuality; an evening of readings and discussion on sexuality and candid writing at this year’s festival.

A Manual for Heartache: How do we make sense of great tragedy? Three acclaimed writers – Richard Beard (The Day That Went Missing), Max Porter (Grief is the Thing with Feathers) and Cathy Rentzenbrink (The Last Act of Love) – come together for an honest yet uplifting discussion of family, loss, and strength, which addresses the healing power of words, and whether reading can prepare us for living with heartache.

Jon McGregor – Reservoir 13: The multiple-award winning author of Even the Dogs and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things brings us his first novel in seven years; the story of many lives haunted by one family’s loss, unfolding over the course of thirteen years in a small village. Named in The Guardian as one of the ‘top 10 writers to see live’, Jon’s fresh take on storytelling will lead the audience on a journey through the landscape and hidden stories of his new novel, Reservoir 13.

These are just a few of the highlights. The festival celebrates all art forms, but I’ve only concentrated on the literature programme, City of Literature, most of which is crammed into one weekend – 26th-28th May.

The Garden Party. Credit Chris Taylor..jpg

 Tickets are still available, so go check it out if you’re in the area. 

The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Horwitz #BookReview #ChildrensFiction

Title: The Wingsnatcherswingsnatchers1
Author: Sarah Jean Horwitz
Series: Carmer and Grit #1
Format: Digital ARC, 368 pages
Publication Details:  April 25th 2017 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre(s): Children’s (middle grade); Fantasy; Steampunk
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

bookdepo

A stunning debut about a magician’s apprentice and a one-winged princess who must vanquish the mechanical monsters that stalk the streets and threaten the faerie kingdom.

Aspiring inventor and magician’s apprentice Felix Carmer III would rather be tinkering with his latest experiments than sawing girls in half on stage, but with Antoine the Amazifier’s show a tomato’s throw away from going under, Carmer is determined to win the cash prize in the biggest magic competition in Skemantis. When fate throws Carmer across the path of fiery, flightless faerie princess Grit (do not call her Grettifrida), they strike a deal. If Carmer will help Grit investigate a string of faerie disappearances, she’ll use her very real magic to give his mechanical illusions a much-needed boost against the competition. But Carmer and Grit soon discover they’re not the only duo trying to pair magic with machine – and the combination can be deadly.


Review

The Wingsnatcher’s is the first book in a series featuring Grit the one-winged faery princess and Carmer, a (failing) magician’s apprentice who live in two very different worlds but have one thing in common – they are both in need of help. And so they make a pact to help each other and become firm friends along the way.

I loved the premise of this book and the story itself did not disappoint. Horwitz has created a fantasy world that is both adorable and edgy. Some will fall in love with Grit and her plight of being a one-winged faery, a disability she has accepted and overcome, and others will love Carmer and his ambition of being this great inventor but who feels a loyalty to the hopeless magician who took him under his wing.

Together, the unlikely duo try to discover who is attacking faeries, and win the invention competition as Carmer’s livelihood and future is at stake.

I really enjoyed the dynamic of these two characters, and their dialogue was great. I also really enjoyed Steampunk elements of the story; there are these demonic mechanical cats who were genuinely scary so I’d bear that in mind when giving to a younger child – I loved them though.

Great action, great descriptions and interesting characters; I just thought the pace was a tad slow, and that the book didn’t need to be over 300 pages, especially considering the target market.

unicorn rating 3

 

 

This Week in Books 19.04.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Hi, Strangers! I didn’t mean to take a fortnight off from the blog but it kind of just happened. Life, eh!? The good news is that I finally kicked that reading slump in the balls. Yeehah!

twib17.13.jpg

Now: Six of Crows ~ Leigh Bardugo // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve literally only read the first page of Six of Crows so nothing to report yet. I think might have to just give up on my  lunch-time attempts at The Time Machine…haven’t managed to pick it up for weeks.

Then: The Last Act of Love ~ Cathy Rentzenbrink // The Wingsnatchers ~ Sarah Jean Horwitz

I finished The Last Act of Love last night. It is an emotional memoir about living with loss and grief – I couldn’t put it down. I finished The Wingsnatchers since my last post too. It was a lot of fun. I’ll get my review up ASAP.

Next: ???

Up next will be an ARC I’m quite excited about, Sucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes. It’s out at the beginning of May so I need to get a shifty on.

New on the Shelves

 Bought:

 

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life


theinexplicThe first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

I’m Waiting On…

Bad Romance by Heather Demotrios

 

Because… the cover caught my eye and it sounds like an intense read.

bad romance

 Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Expected Publication:  June 13th 2017 by Henry Holt and Co.

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

This Week in Books 05.04.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday you guys. I’m afraid my now, then and next answers are still the same but I feel like my reading slump is finally dissipating so hopefully I’ll be back to normal next week. New book haul and WoW below though, so keep on reading… 😉

twib17.12.jpg

Now: The Wingsnatchers ~ Sarah Jean Horwitz // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’m almost done with The Wingsnatchers. It’s a really cute Steampunk Junior Fiction (Middle Grade) read. And yes, I’m stiiiiiiiiiiill going on The Time Machine at lunch-times.

Then: King’s Cage ~ Victoria Aveyard 

This was the last book I finished. I posted a very short review in my reading round-up here.

Next: ???

I keep saying I’ll read Six of Crows and then don’t, but I am determined to this time. Promise. (Double promise!)

New on the Shelves

 Bought on Kindle:

 

Shtum

shtumPowerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.

When Ben and Emma fake a separation – a strategic decision to further Jonah’s case in an upcoming tribunal – Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben’s elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men – one who can’t talk; two who won’t – are thrown together.

 

Evil Librarian

 

evillib

#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor.

But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him.
Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body!
From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety). 

I’m Waiting On…

 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

 

Because… EVERYTHING!

gentlemansguide

 An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Expected Publication:  June 27th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Top Ten Tuesday: Fandoms #TTT #BTVS

icon4-ttt

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

This week the topic is… Top Ten fandoms you’re part of/love.

Wow I haven’t done a TTT yet this year. I didn’t mean to stop doing them altogether, just to only partake in the topics that really appealed and I guess that hasn’t happened yet.

 For me, the word fandom only brings to mind one thing…BUFFY!

I recently won tickets to a special Buffy party to celebrate its 20th anniversary (wahhhhh so old) which was amazing! The Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square was kitted out in all the Buffy Merch you could imagine and I was in Heaven. AKA 1999.

Here’s Giles as a demon as the biggest cake I’ve ever seen:

 

Anyway, I thought this TTT topic would be the perfect way for me to celebrate the Buffy anniversary on my blog, by compiling my top ten episodes. This is going to be painful…

(OK this was actually impossible. I’m not happy with this list but the more I change it the worse it gets. DAMN YOU WHEDONNNNNNN)

 

 

BTVS5

10. The Wish

 

BTVS4

9. Dopplegangland

 

BTVS6

8. The Gift

 

BTVS7

7. School Hard

 

BTVS3

6. Hush

 

BTVS9

5. Bad Girls/Enemies (I CAN’T CHOOSE)

 

BTVS1

4. Becoming (parts 1 & 2)

 

BTVS8

3. Prophecy Girl

 

buffycast2

2. Tabula Rasa

 

BTVS2

1. Once More with Feeling

 

BONUS (just because)…

BTVS10

…Smashed

#Buffyslays20

Reading Round-up: March 2017 #BookReviews #MarchReleases

icon-rru

Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t warrant a full review. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

The only book I read this month and didn’t feel like reviewing in full was….

kingscage

King’s Cage (Red Queen #3) ~ Victoria Aveyard

I think I’m pretty much done with this series. I really loved the first book, and the second one was OK, and then this one was even less OK. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it but I don’t really feel the need to continue reading if that’s what’s happening. The ending made me think that it’s just going to go on and on.

I liked seeing Mare and Cal back together again in King’s Cage (not much of a spoiler I don’t think!), but the whole red/silver war thing just felt so samey. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

unicorn rating 3

Other Reviews

This Month in Books: March 2017 #TMIB #MarchReleases

ICON5

March has been a weird month. I spent most of it in a reading slump and watched a lot of TV instead. Bad Book Blogger! IRL I went home for a weekend to surprise my mum for Mother’s Day which made her happy, won tickets to a 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer party sponsored by the Syfy channel and Fandom which made me very happy (I was in heaven), and took a few days off work which was nice.

March 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 14 (+ 3 from previous month)

Books Read: 4 (-1)
All the Good Things ~ Clare Fisher
Girl in Disguise ~ Greer Macallister
The Invisible Hand ~ James Hartley
King’s Cage ~ Victoria Aveyard

 
The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (2/4); Crime/Thriller (2/4); Fantasy (2/4)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/4); Digital (1/4); Hardback (0/4); Paperback (3/4) / Owned (1/4); Borrowed (0/4); For Review/proofs (3/4)

Most Surprising: All the Good Things
Most Disappointing: King’s Cage
Most Exciting: Girl in Disguise
Most Swoon-worthy:  Hmm…King’s Cage I guess…
Most Beautifully Written: All the Good Things

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 22.03.17
  2. This Week in Books 15.03.17
  3. Lazy Saturday Review: The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

 

 

 

TBR Shelf Update

IMG_6725.JPG

Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 85

Books Added: 0!

Books Read: 1

Remaining: 84

That was my month, how was yours?