YALC

Last Saturday I ticked something off my bucket list – I finally went to YALC. For those of you not in the know, YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention, which takes place within London Film and Comic Con. A weekend dedicated to all things YA, it is basically a YA lover’s dream.

I have wanted to go to YALC since I discovered it existed and this year I decided to go for it and buy a ticket. Having ever only read about it through blogs and tweets, I didn’t know what exactly to expect, but it turned out to be the best day of the year so far, without question.

When I first arrived I was slightly overwhelmed. There were just so many books! Yes, it is a book convention, but I never imagined there would be so many. All the big publishing names had a stand and they all had offers. And did I mention the freebies? Bookmarks, badges, posters, flyers…there was so much amazing bookish swag that I felt like I was in heaven. Continue reading “YALC”

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An Evening with Laini Taylor

In the past year I have been lucky enough to meet quite a few of my favourite authors – Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo and Rainbow Rowell. On Thursday night I added to this list when I attended a talk and signing by Laini Taylor, author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, at Waterstones West End, Edinburgh.

It was by chance that I found out Laini was touring the UK promoting her new book, Strange The Dreamer. I happened to see a tweet from publishers Hodder & Stoughton about it and I was thrilled to learn Edinburgh would be one of the stops on the tour. Since reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I have been a big fan of Laini. Her writing is so lyrical and her stories are just epic.

There was quite a diverse crowd at the event. I am used to feeling a little silly for being surrounded by teenagers at these YA book signings, but surprisingly there were a few older people there and some girls who seemed to be about my own age. It is great to see that people of all ages are interested in a YA author and it shows that the genre has a much bigger reach than its intended market.

Moreover, I do genuinely feel that Laini Taylor’s writing is not your typical YA writing. To me, her books read like any adult novel. Now, I get annoyed when people claim that YA is less challenging than adult fiction because that is a terrible generalisation to make. There are so many challenging YA novels out there that are written very well. Laini Taylor’s books, however, have a particular maturity to them. Her language is prosaic and could rival any work of literary fiction.

It was great to hear her talk about how she writes such amazing prose. She confessed that she is a perfectionist and that this held her back from completing a novel for many years. The thing that struck me the most about her was how down-to-earth she was. She was very candid about her writing process and how self-critical she can be when it comes to her own work. I could relate to a lot of her issues regarding perfectionism with writing and I found myself nodding along when she described the frustration it causes.

After the talk we all had the opportunity to have our books signed. I always get slightly anxious when meeting authors. I usually end up blabbering a load of nonsense but Laini was so nice and friendly. It was brilliant to get to meet her and have my copy of Strange The Dreamer signed.

I am a quarter of the way through it now and so far I am enjoying it immensely. I can’t wait to see where it will take me, but I am certain it will be another epic adventure.

Worlds Collide Tour

There’s not been much to recommend this year, it’s safe to say, but one thing that has been good has been the book events I have attended. Early in the year I had the chance to see one of my favourite YA authors, Cassandra Clare, and just over a week ago on the 27th October I was lucky enough to attend the Edinburgh stop on Rainbow Rowell and Leigh Bardugo’s UK tour.

When I first heard about the Worlds Collide Tour I thought it had to be a hoax. Not one but two of my favourite authors doing a tour in the UK and they were coming to Edinburgh. Needless to say I booked a ticket right away.

I have loved Leigh’s work since the moment I started reading Shadow and Bone. She is such a fantastic storyteller and her world building is so intricate and believable. Her brand of fantasy is something unique. There is magic with a historical feel to it, but her characters comes across as modern and are easy to relate to.

20161027_205232 Continue reading “Worlds Collide Tour”

The Great YA Debate

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about young adult fiction (YA). Since my university days it has been my go-to for books that will entertain, enthrall and toy with my emotions. Needless to say, when I discovered there was a YA debate taking place at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year I was determined to get tickets even if it meant hanging about in Edinburgh after work on a Monday night.

I’m not sure exactly what I expected. Obviously the word debate suggests that there will be opposing views batted back and forth and this was exactly what we got. There was quite a crowd of people of various ages, and surprisingly more than a few men there too. I didn’t know who any of the writers on the panel were (sorry!) but it was nice to discover some new names to look out for.

The debate started with Anthony McGowan giving his views on YA and its readers. He made the argument that teenagers don’t read YA and that it is being written, published and read by women in their twenties and thirties. McGowan thinks this is problematic. He believes that teenager fiction should be for teenagers and adults should read adult fiction. Adults, he argued, should be reading depressing, complex and challenging books that make them hate their lives and want to change things.

While I respect his opinion, I must confess that I felt more than a little maligned. Perhaps it was just coincidence but he kept repeating that 28-year-old book bloggers need to grow up and move on from YA. Being 28 and an occasional YA book blogger this made my hackles rise. Continue reading “The Great YA Debate”

Cassandra Clare Fan Event 16/04/16

Last Saturday I had one of the most brilliant experiences of my life. I found myself at Leicester Square Theatre in London, one of hundreds of excited Cassandra Clare fans there to hear her talk about her newest book, Lady Midnight. As you might know if you have followed my blog for a while, I have loved Cassandra Clare’s books since the moment I discovered them. From The Mortal Instruments to The Infernal Devices and now The Dark Artifices, her rich world of Shadowhunters, vampires, werewolves and fairies has enchanted me for the past few years. When I discovered that Cassie was touring the UK for Lady Midnight, I was determined to get tickets to the London event.

I’ve attended book events in the past, but there is something about going to a fan event that gives it this whole other level of awesomeness. Maybe it was because I am part of the fandom and so I got swept up in the excitement radiating off everyone else. Whatever the reason, I can categorically say that this was the best book event I have ever been to.

First of, there were so many fans, and all of us had dressed in black as a nod to the Shadowhunter gear. There is something so wonderful about fandom. It brings people of all ages and backgrounds together. I was worried I would be one of the oldest there, but there were parents attending with teenage daughters and loads of twenty-somethings, all of us eager to meet one of the best voices in YA. Continue reading “Cassandra Clare Fan Event 16/04/16”

A Trip Down Memory Lane – Top 5 Children’s Books

It’s Book Week Scotland this week. I’d love to say I’m doing lots of stuff in honour of it, but between working and interning there isn’t any time to organise anything. Instead, I decided to give this post over to my favourite books from childhood.

One of the aims of Book Week Scotland is to foster a love of reading in children. This is something I couldn’t agree with more. My childhood was spent reading and writing and letting my imagination run wild. I think it’s a terrible shame that kids these days don’t read as much. Sure, TV and computer games are fun, but there’s nothing like being transported to another world through words on a page. There’s something magical about it, I think, and every child should discover that joy.

So, in honour of Book Week Scotland, here are my top 5 favourite childhood reads.

Continue reading “A Trip Down Memory Lane – Top 5 Children’s Books”

His Father’s Son Launch

His-Fathers-Son-large-imageLast night I took myself off down to the Princes’ Street branch of Waterstones for the launch of His Father’s Son, the new novel by Tony Black. Many of you might know him for his crime novels, in particular Truth Lies Bleeding. His Father’s Son is a new genre for Tony and it’s published by the company I recently interned with, Black & White Publishing.

A little claim to fame – I did help type up some of the guest list for last night’s launch while I was at Black & White, so it was amazing to actually go and see everyone there. I’ve been to book events at Waterstones before and I have to hand it to them – they do them well. But I know that Black & White were the real force behind the scenes and they did an amazing job last night. The atmosphere was relaxed and there was plenty of refreshments (and the wine was nice!). It was lovely to see people walking around, chatting to one another, and there were quite a few previous interns there too.

I’d heard so much about Tony and about His Father’s Son while I was at Black & White, so I was curious to see him in person. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I’d been told he was nice, but I don’t think I was prepared for him to be so down-to-earth. The handful of authors I’ve met have all been pleasant and for all she is a superstar (in the literary world at least), Charlaine Harris didn’t have any airs or graces about her. But Tony Black was a whole other level of natural. He was very friendly and humorous and I enjoyed his reading from the book. It was interesting to hear him talk about how the birth of his son added a new perspective to the writing of the book, and that he enjoyed writing in this genre more than writing crime novels. Afterwards he was very happy to sign for the crowd and what I liked most was the easy way he was chatting to the people coming up to him. I’m sure he knew some of them, but he was equally as happy to talk with the people he didn’t know.  I’m usually a bit star struck when I meet authors. Quite how I managed to utter more than one syllable to John Barrowman and Charlaine Harris is still a matter of amazement to me. And yet, when I met Tony last night no one could shut me up! He was very easy to talk to. I told him about helping out with the guest list and then we talked about France (I made some silly comment about my name being French!) I also told him that my dad has read all his crime novels and he was curious to know if my dad would read His Father’s Son too. I promised to pass it on to him once I’ve read it.

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It was a fun night and I’d like to thank Black & White for inviting me. I can now add another signed book to my steadily growing collection and I can add another literary icon to my list of writer’s I’ve met. This has been a great year for meeting authors, and I hope it’s a trend that will continue into the future. His Father’s Son is next on my reading list and I must admit I’m excited to read it after hearing so much about it. If you like emotional stories centered on family life then keep your eyes open for it. The people I know who have read it have told me it’s really good, and the reviews so far have all been very positive. In the meantime, I’m off to plough on with The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Stay tuned for my review of it, coming soon!