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.

WWW Wednesday 16.07.2014

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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?

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Currently Reading: I was all set to pick up The Princess Bride as part of my TBR Pile Challenge marathon, but (I’m laughing at the rubbishness of me right now BTW) I got some awesome looking books at YALC at the weekend (the post will be up ASAP) and ended up starting one of them on the way home. Said book was Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan, which started off pretty awful to be honest, but the Goodreads reviews of it suggest that it’ll really improve, and it has already started to so I’m glad I’ve stuck with it. I have started The Princess Bride too so all is not lost.

Recently Finished: I finally finished Cress! Which was amazing, obviously, but I wish I’d been able to read it all in one go, rather than here and there over two weeks (I was busy and Wimbledon happened). It ruined it a bit. But, it’s not like I can’t read it again. I should have a review up by the weekend.

Up Next: After The Princes Bride, it could be any from the Coming Up! post I did on Monday, but I’m leaning towards either The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick because I met him at YALC and he was the nicest man ever, or The Godmother by Caroline Turgeon, also inspired by YALC – from a great talk about fairy tales and retellings.

Leave your link and I’ll come take a look. 🙂

WWW Wednesday 26.01.2014

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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?

Happy Wednesday everyone!

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Currently Reading: Frog Music by Emma Donoghue and The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I’m going to the book launch of Frog Music on Sunday too which is exciting!

Recently Finished: I finished Monsters of Men (review here) by Patrick Ness, which broke me, as expected, and The Medea Complex by Rachel Roberts which I really enjoyed.

Up Next: Ahhhhh too many good books! I have A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick, After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts, Frostbite by Richelle Mead, Scarlett by Marissa Meyer, The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas and The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass in the running. How to choose????

Leave a comment with your link and I’ll come visit! 🙂

Update: Back to work & what’s coming up!

I am back from an excellent holiday in Iceland (I’ll post some pictures soon) and I’ve also been revamping my flat as my friend and flatmate Dora (Hi Dora) moved out before I went away. It’s the end of an era! But I am looking forward to living by myself for the very first time. EEEK.

I’ve been pretty busy (mainly deciding where to put ALL THE BOOKS) but now it’s time to knuckle down. I have loads of awesome things lined up for the blog so I thought I’d let you know what to expect for the rest of Feb and March.

Guests Posts

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I have two wonderful guest posts lined up from two (well technically three as one is from a fantasy-writing husband & wife duo) authors who talk about the inspiration behind their respective titles.

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I did the bad thing and went a bit NetGalley crazy a few months ago, which is good because I have some awesome- looking books to review, but is bad because I HAVE NO TIME.

Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga

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Darius Hunter is a bullied high school freshman. When he drinks Blood Orange Soda to transform into a Vampire and earn respect, he soon learns life as a Vampire has its own challenges.

Set in the future on the rural landscape of St. Cloud, Minnesota where pre-Vampire teens are required by the government to take a daily Red pill to prevent their urge to bite, Blood Orange Soda is a coming of age story of love, life and death.
Released 15th March 2014 by JML

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

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The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.
Released March 11th 2014 by Spiegel & Grau

Frog Music by Emma Donaghue

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Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice – if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boom town like no other.
Released March 27th 2014 by HarperCollins

A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

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In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterwards that worse things happen in wars.

Seven years later he returns to the city – and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow…

A Love Like Blood is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man’s life can change in a moment; about where the desire for truth – and for revenge – can lead; about love and fear and hatred. And it is also about the question of blood.
Released March 27th 2014 by Hodder

Blog Tours

I’m chuffed to be reviewing Aoife Marie Sheridan’s Eden Forest as part of her Blog Tour, hitting Lipsyy Lost & Found on March 6th.

I better get to it!

*Giveaway Alert* via World Book Day (UK only)

In Honor of Children’s Book Week, World Book Day have two more great giveaways this month.

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Set in London and Manhattan, She Is Not Invisible explores obsession, trust and coincidence in a page-turning thriller about Laureth Peak’s mission to find her missing father:

Laureth Peak’s father is a writer. For years he’s been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he’s obsessed, Laureth thinks he’s on the verge of a breakdown. He’s supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong. On impulse she steals her mother’s credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old – for Laureth is blind.

She Is Not Invisible is published simultaneously in hardback, eBook (with text to speech),audio, large print (via AudioGo), and in Braille and Daisy format (via the RNIB), enabling it to be fully accessible to all readers.Publishers Orion/Indigo are giving away 5 hardback and 5 audio book copies. Closing date October 31 2013.

Head over to their site to find out how to enter.

Treasure-Hunters

From the the top ten bestselling author of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and I Funny comes a brilliantly original new adventure series, jam-packed with action, humour, and heart. Perfect for any fan of adventure books Treasure Hunters will take you on the journey of a lifetime and keep you gripped from cover to cover.

WBD have FIVE copies of Treasure Hunters up for grabs. closing date of 31 October.

Enter here!

Horror October 2013!

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Next month will be dedicated (of course) to the spooky, the creepy, the gory and the downright terrifying! I have quite a few books lined up so depending on how much I get through it may even spill over to November. I do love a good horror!*

Coming Up:

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Doctor Sleep (The Shining #2) – Stephen King
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black
The Wolves of Midwinter (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #2) – Anne Rice
The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick
Human Remains – Elizabeth Haynes
Zom-B Underground (Zom-b #2) – Darren Shan
The Dead in their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

* They are not exactly all ‘Horrors’

I’ll also be spotlighting my Favourite Freaky Reads and Films, discussing the weird and wonderful things I love (and probably hate) about the horror genre, and maybe even visiting some Graveyards. So watch this space.

Are you a Horror Fan? Get Involved: What to you think I should read first? Do you have a favourite on the list above? Want to discuss or rant about something Horror/Halloween related? I’m always up for guests posts. Get in touch!

xxLipsyxx

Top Ten Tuesday #4: Top ten books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn

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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). This week the theme is Top Ten Books on my to-be-read pile this Autumn.

These aren’t all necessarily new books, but they are the ones I have lined up that I am most exited to read in the next few months.

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Feel free to leave a comment with the link to your TTT post so I can check them out!