Tag Archives: event recap

YALC 2016: Recap and Book Haul



I was so pumped for YALC this year, though admittedly, slightly less pumped than usual -I haven’t been to a book event in such a long time (was my last book event YALC 2015…? OH NO) due to exams and stress and life being ridiculously busy and draining. So I was pretty nervous about going and talking to (or not being able to talk to) the many lovely bloggers I know online but haven’t talked to in so long because, as mentioned, life is busy and draining.

BUT. To the fun stuff; let’s ignore my brain for a sec. I was very excited to go, and see how the convention is developing even further in its third successful year. So, onto a messy recap/book haul post!

I arrived at around 8.30 to YALC – earlier than the starting time, because I was very honoured to have been invited to this year’s blogger’s breakfast before the opening. I was really excited for this, as each year of YALC a few authors come and do a small, more intimate talk with bloggers and vloggers – this year, to celebrate You Know Me Well and #BookPride, it was David Levithan and Nina LaCour!

29848950Being me, I didn’t take photos, because I’m stupid. I was also a little in overdrive at the prospect of my two favourite authors in the same room as me. I adore their books more than anything, they’re all so important to me – reading titles from You Know Me Well, to Wide Awake, to Everything Leads To You have been pivotal moments in my life, no exaggeration. David and Nina discussed YKMW, then opened up to the bloggers for questions – and there was a short signing after, in which I was much too shy to say a huge thank you to them for such beautiful books.

It was incredibly cool of them to do the press junket the day after their big YALC appearance, especially as they must have been a lil jet lagged. Thank you to the both of them for the great morning, and to the YALC team for organising the press junket and inviting me!

The first things I did when YALC started officially was sit in on the first two panels. The first was a range of authors mostly with their debut novels releasing this year, celebrating new talent in YA. It was really interesting to hear from a lot of them, as I don’t think I would have otherwise. Claire Hennessey was on this panel, and Nothing Tastes as Good is set to be an awesome release –  in fact, I read an early manuscript of this so can vouch for it!


The second panel of the day was ASK YALC, with Holly Bourne, Juno Dawson and Rosalind Jana, hosted by Gemma Cairney of BBC Radio 1. I loved this panel so much! It was probably my favourite. It had a little twist to it, as beforehand audience members wrote down questions they wanted advice to – and the panel members answered them on stage. I loved hearing all of the advice – they’re all such brilliant, intelligent and funny people. I was also introduced to Rosalind Jana through this panel, whom I hadn’t previously heard of (ok I probably have, I just have an awful memory). I rushed to buy a copy of her book afterwards!

As I went to Juno and Rosalind’s signings after the second panel, I’d missed a lot of the next one, which was a fantasy one including Philip Reeve. I was a little sad about that, but I decided midday to take a lil break from YALC, and hop down a floor to LFCC to see what was going on there!


Having spent most of my money on books, it wasn’t the best use of my time; LFCC is mainly a place for buying merch from stands, and queuing for paid autographs and photos with Sci Fi icons. (Very cool, but less so for a broke student like moi)

I did enjoy wandering around a lot, though! It was so different to YALC. The cosplay that I was was amazing (note: a small six y/o-ish Harley Quinn that outdid EVERY other Harley Quinn I saw, like, whoa) and I loved looking at artists’ stands of prints and comics.

I then went back to YALC, to watch the Morally Complicated YA Panel. Even though I was basically winging the whole day, going to panels on a whim, I knew I had to go to this one. It was set to be fantastic – Louise O’Neill and Melvin Burgess, two authors very well known for their controversial but life changing fiction, were joined by Monsters author Emerald Fennel (which I am still yet to read!) and Girl, Detached author Manuela Salvi (this looks SO GOOD).


So many interesting points were raised about censorship in young adult fiction – from where we draw the line, to banning books, to comparisons with movies. This is a topic I’ve been quietly interested in for a while – and, as I’m currently looking for EPQ ideas (an essay project for extra UCAS points in sixth form) this has actually inspired me to consider writing about YA and censorship for my project!


The only author photo I got at YALc was with Louise O’Neill, but that was incredibly cool – I’ve been to one of her signings before, but I only bought Asking For It today and I cannot wait to read it. I have a feeling I’ll have an in-depth discussion blog post following reading.

I didn’t actually spend as long at YALC as I did the last two years – I left before the last panel (a Harry Potter Party!) had ended. But I still had a fantastic time!

Similarly to my smaller amount of time at YALC, I also got surprisingly few books (I mean, look at 2014…). However, they’re some pretty awesome books. I can’t wait to delve into them asap. Also pictured: a tote bag and poster from the lovely Hot Key Books, and some postcards of books I must keep and eye out for!


Books purchased:

-Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Finally, it’s here! I can’t wait to go back to my childhood again.)

-The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance (Loved Jess’ debut. This looks very mysterious.)

-Notes on Being Teenage by Rosalind Jana (Rosalind was fantastic on her panel and this sounds nice!)

-Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (I’ve needed this book in my life for. so. long.)

-[FREE PROOF:] Girl, Detached by Manuela Salvi (This sounded very interesting, and I don’t read much translated fiction)

A HUGE thank you to the organisers behind YALC for putting together such a fantastic event – the whole weekend looked amazing, and the day I visited was really enjoyable. Thank you also to the authors and publicists for putting together such cool panels! Bring on next year 🙂


Event Recap and Book Haul: The Fire Sermon blogger’s event

This is a kinda mish-mash of a post, because I really wanted to talk about the event I recently went to – and also I’m debating whether or not to bring back regular book hauls, which I used to do around fortnightly but haven’t done so for ages. Let me know if you’d like to see book hauls in the future!

Last Saturday, I was invited to an event at the shiny new Harper Collins office to celebrate the release of The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig (read my review here!) – a début fantasy that I’m sure is going to be talked about a lot this year. I was really excited as I knew some bloggers I know would be there and, of course, Francesca Haig would be talking about her book!

The event was really fun: The office was right by the Shard, and on the fourteenth floor, and all of the walls were windows… A little terrifying but the view was so stunning. I couldn’t get a good picture because I forgot to bring my camera’s memory card…

Sigh/facepalm/headdesk/etc etc.

Francesca read some of The Fire Sermon, and gave a talk & Q&A about her writing process. It was really enjoyable and bloggers (not me, obvs, I’m quiet and introverted) asked some really great questions – someone asked what I would’ve; there was a nod to John Wyndham in the book!!

There was a lot of time to talk to other bloggers, and it was great to talk to Andrew, Stevie, Debbie and others again. Also, it was so great to finally get to meet Charli from To Another World IRL, who is as awesome offline as she is online!

There were some very cool Fire Sermon cupcakes, and we were also given goodie bags with some books in after Francesca had signed our books. Thank you, Harper Voyager, for hosting a really fun event! (:


Fire Sermon cupcakes!


Book received from HarperVoyager – Birdbox sounds especially awesome.

After the event, I went to Waterstones Piccadilly to go buy more books. Heh. WHAT BOOK BUYING BAN. While in the YA section I bumped into Sophie, from A Day Dreamer’s World – I’ve known Sophie and loved her blog for a long time so it was crazy to finally meet her in person! We spent a while in there discussing booooks. And I ended up buying these:


Also, on Friday I received this in the post and it looks fantastic – The Bell Between Worlds by Ian johnstone. I’m 90% sure this is a paperback release and that it was published last year in hardback, originally – I think I remember checking the hardback edition out in a store! I’m really excited to start it, so thanks to HarperCollins.


 That’s all!:D Have you read any of these? What do you recommend I start first?

YALC: Event recap and book haul!

I can’t believe I was lucky enough to be able to spend a day at YALC, on Sunday! If you haven’t heard of the Young Adult Literature Convention, it’s the first ever of its kind on such a large scale in the UK, and was organised largely by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. I’m not sure if a second YALC for next year has been officially confirmed (But I really hope there will be another!), but this year it took up a section of the main hall for the London Film and Comic Con. It ran over Saturday and Sunday, hosting panels, workshops, talks and signings, and the list of authors attending was unbelievably exciting!

I’ve been excited about attending YALC for months, ever since Malorie Blackman announced the event online. I’ve been to quite a few blogger’s and author’s events over the last few years, but not a convention entirely based around books. So I was basically trying not to jump out of my train seat and I was trying to stop myself from squealing as I travelled up to London. I arrived earlier than the normal standard entry, to join a blogger’s breakfast with some other bloggers and booktubers – plus authors Matt Haig, Holly Black, Non Pratt and BoyQueen James Dawson. Thank you to the people who organised this pre-YALC event – it was so fun to get to talk to so many lovely bloggers, meeting new people and talking to friends I’ve met previously again! (Shout out to Alix Long who I talked to most, and is super awesome).

I won’t go over all of the panels I went to in detail as I’ll babble on a lot. Here are some (very blurry) pictures from events I went to, below! I did also attend a How To Get Published panel with Sally Green & Phil Earle, but was too far back / too short to get a good picture. I also caught the last few minutes of Crossover: Not Just for Kids panel, but didn’t include a picture below as I wasn’t really there for much.

Top two, Blogger’s breakfast; Third, I’m too sexy for this book; Fourth, Sisters doing it for themselves; Fifth, Sally Gardner and Holly Black in conversation.

PicMonkey Collage Events1

Also, below are pictures of the majority of authors I met at signings, and talked to in between events. It was so amazing to be able to meet so many brilliant authors in one place! I loved Lucy Saxon’s (Take Back the Skies) cosplay. It was also brilliant to finally be able to meet Holly Smale (Geek Girl), as not only am I a huge fan, but I’ve also tried to get to at least three of her past events, every time having to miss it for various reasons. Thank you to every one for signing my books!PicMonkey Collage Authors1‘Scuse me in some of the pictures, being generally un-photogenic / having my eyes closed half of the time 😛

Basically, YALC was fantastic. I enjoyed the day so much – I got to meet so many authors and bloggers. The day went so well and I think the panels were all really interesting, thought provoking, and a lot of them were hilarious (eg James Dawson & the I‘m too sexy for this book panel). I only wish there was more than fifteen minutes between each panel – I ended up missing quite a few parts because fifteen minutes was too little time to get my books signed during the signing slots that overlapped, for me.

At the end of the final panel with Holly Black and Sally Gardner in conversation, YALC announced that there would be a huge book giveaway- of all of the books that had been hanging on the awesome book wall, plus more stocks from various places. So, I spent the last… half hour, maybe, of the convention getting some really awesome books. At the end of the giveaway, when most was gone, staff said you were allowed to take multiple books at a time. And also, of course, I bought books earlier in the day. So overall, this was the YALC book haul… *deep breath*

PicMonkey Collage

I’m really looking forward to reading everything! There are quite a few books I managed to get at YALC that I’d love to read asap over the summer. I’m hoping to make a Summer TBR post soon, so a few titles may reappear there.

Finally, to wrap up – I loved YALC (and LFCC as a whole!) and I love all of the people who made it possible. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever been to, and I’m so grateful I was able to go and see so many people! It was really nice to meet lots of great bloggers, though I’m sad I missed some bloggers and authors. And, of course, thank you to all of the authors and interviewers who hosted some really memorable panels. The day I spent there was great, and I’m sure the Saturday there was just as amazing. I really hope YALC comes back next year!


Sci-Fi by the Sea!

Sci-Fi by the Sea first started last year in Herne Bay, Kent on father’s day- and yesterday, Sci-Fi by the Sea(Quel) was back! I really loved it in 2013 – but this year it was even bigger, even busier, and had event more awesomeness. I took so many photos, so I thought I’d do a quick post about the convention!

My little brother (who also recently started a movie blog) who decided to try cosplaying, and made a Wolverine costume:


There was quite a lot of cosplay last year at the first Sci-Fi by the Sea… but this year there was so much more, and every single person looked seriously awesome. Some of my favourites (clockwise from far left; Elsa from Frozen, Hellboy, C3P0, Minion, Chewbacca, Deadpool):

PicMonkey Collage3


There were also various bands and singers who sung at the bandstand at the front. It was pretty funny seeing the Joker on the drums and Darth Vader strumming a guitar:



And most of the rest of Sci Fi by the Sea was aisles and aisles of stalls, selling ALL the merch!:D I wish I could’ve bought one of everything – there were lots of pretty handmade geeky things like jewellery and furniture and key rings… I bought a really gorgeous steampunk wrist cuff. There were also stalls with cartoon & SF/Fantasy artists – Danny Flynn’s Lunartics stall was brilliant! A Bundle of Books, which is a Herne Bay-based Children’s bookstore I mentioned in this post, also had a stall. They hosted Sci-Fi YA author Philip Webb for a signing. I’m so glad I got the chance to meet him – thank you to ABOB & Philip for my signed copy of Where the Rock Splits the Sky!



Also, of course – Sci-Fi by the Sea’s main attraction was all of the actors from big Sci-Fi films who attended for signings and photos. This year some Stars Wars actors, including Femi Taylor and David Prowse came. Also, there were legendary Doctor Who people; Colin Baker, Paul McGann, plus some of the Doctor’s earlier assistants! I’m really sad I didn’t have the money to queue up and get signatures and photos. At least I came within a few metres of the tent… xD



So… Thank you so, so much to the people who put Sci-Fi by the Sea(Quel) together! It was such a great day, and I definitely don’t want to miss next year’s. Also, of course, thank you to Philip Webb for signing my book. I can’t wait to start it, as Where the Rock Splits the Sky was a book I really wanted to read when it was released last year!