alwyn hamilton

My YALC Reading List: Part 1

I’m sure many of you UK Book Bloggers (and perhaps even some of you from overseas!) have started seeing that the authors that will be attending the Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) in London in July have started to be announced! I’m still yet to buy my ticket (I should *really* get on that) but I’m already excited to meet new authors and old and new friends.

The first batch of authors was released a while ago and there’s a mix of YALC stalwarts and some new faces.

Last year, I wrote the YALC Reading List, which was a really useful exercise for me to get to know all of the authors at YALC and I went in as a bit of an expert – if I do say so myself – on the authors and their books. This year, I am more experienced in the book blogging world, but if you’d like to see this again, please do comment or tweet at me at @annalisebooks! You can find all my old posts about YALC 2016 on the blog and there’s a link to all ELEVEN parts here.

But back to YALC 2017, here’s the first part of my reading list…

This section corresponds to the authors announced in the first announcement, and there are some amazing authors there whose books I have already read (and some that I’m not interested in reading) so these are my unread titles…

  1. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  2. The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik (Sofia Khan #2!)
  3. Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
  4. Windfall by Jennifer E Smith (thank you MyKindaBook for sending me this beautiful finished copy!)
  5. The Gilded Cage by Vic James

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What will you be reading for YALC 2017? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!

annalsie

 

YALC Reading List: What To Read for YALC16

A ridiculously amazing selection of authors will be attending YALC in Hammersmith, London on 28-31 July. Now, there are some amazing authors attending, who have written amazing and inspiring novels – but there’s one problem. There’s so many of my favourite authors attending, how am I going to carry all the books?!

Obviously, the solution here is to buy more books, so I thought I’d write a series with the authors who will be attending and which book I will be/would be getting signed by each author.

malorie-blackman-web5189vfu41el-_sx324_bo1204203200_

1. Malorie Blackman

Book to read: Noughts & Crosses

The pioneer of YALC will be returning for a third year – and admittedly, I still haven’t read any of her books! There was a time in high school when EVERYONE was reading this series (everyone except me, apparently) but I just never picked it up (I was either reading Harry Potter, dark romance or errrr…. Vanity Fair (the magazine)). I think I am well overdue a Malorie Blackman novel so I’ll either be diving into Noughts & Crosses or her brand new novel, Chasing The Stars (Out 21 April, 2016).

melvin-burgess71ac3gutncl

2. Melvin Burgess

Book to read: Junk

Junk is constantly referred to as one of many Young Adult authors’ favourite books. Junk was released in 1996, before the advent of the YA genre, and follows two teenage runaways, as they squat, become addicted to heroin and embrace anarchism. A real YA classic, I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of this before YALC. This book won the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

alwyn-hamilton24934065

3. Alwyn Hamilton

Book to read: Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands has been one of the most talked-about novels this year – not only because of its frankly stunning cover. A retelling of Arabian Nights, every scene in this novel could be a direct scene from a movie. I’m sure there’s going to be a long queue to get this one signed! Read my review here.

frances-hardingethe-lie-tree

4. Frances Hardinge

Book to read: The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree has to be one of the hottest books of the year – it won the Costa Book of the Year Award 2015 (a HUGE achievement, especially for a children’s novel). The Lie Tree has also been shortlisted for the Young Adult Book Prize 2016. Definitely the book of the moment, I’ll be trying to squeeze this one in before July.

nina-lacour27158835

5. Nina LaCour and 6. David Levithan

Book to read: You Know Me Well

Coming this June, You Know Me Well is a dual perspective novel (think Will Grayson, Will Grayson that David Levithan with John Green – which I’m about halfway through). This one is about first love, and at 256 pages, should be a quick read!

melinda-salisburythe-sleeping-prince-by-melinda-salisbury

7. Melinda Salisbury

Book to read: The Sin Eater’s Daughter/The Sleeping Prince

The recipient of some of the most glowing Twitter praise ever seen, Melinda Salisbury is one of my favourite people-I-follow-on-Twitter. I won both The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince in a Twitter competition, but haven’t picked them up yet – but I absolutely will have to before July.

SVoss-Stiefvater-webcover_ravenboys_300

8. Maggie Stiefvater

Book to read: The Raven Boys series

I currently own one Maggie Stiefvater book and that is Shiver (the first book in The Wolves of Mercy Fall series), which I read years ago (probably around 2009). The Raven Boys series has been making waves in the book blogger community, especially recently as the final book in the series, The Raven King, was released in April. This is one series I don’t think I can hold out purchasing for much longer.

lisa-williamsonthe-art-of-being-normal

9. Lisa Williamson

Book to read: The Art of Being Normal

Nominated for the 2016 YA book prize, The Art of Being Normal is an absolutely brilliant stand-alone debut novel, following a transgender teen, David, as he prepares to tell his family that he wishes to transition, and would like to be called Kate. One of the most important books of the year, TAOBN is a novel I genuinely enjoyed, and I can’t wait to read Lisa’s future novels.

That’s it for the first installment of ‘What to Read for YALC’ – I will be posting more blog posts with the rest of the authors who will be in attendance so keep a look out for that!

Which authors are you most excited about seeing? Which books are you picking up for YALC and/or hoping to get signed?

Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks!

Annalise x

Review: Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first thing to say about Rebel of the Sands is that the cover is really, really beautiful. It’s eye-catching in blue and gold, and one of the best covers I’ve seen in a long time.

Rebel of the Sands follows Amani, a girl, dressed as a boy, trying to get out of her hometown, Dustwalk, to escape her uncle and travel to the city to live with her aunt (who she has never met). To leave, she needs money, and so she enters a shooting tournament. There she meets a foreigner, Jin, who will change her life forever…

Rebel of the Sands is unlike any other book I’ve read. It’s a Western, set in a desert, with mythical creatures and magic and the ilk. Each scene is so unbelievably clear, it’s like watching a film in book form. Amani is independent, rebellious, and determined to get what she wants, and that means going against what female characters often do, which is drop everything for the first attractive man they set eyes on. She’s decisive, self-preserving and a bit of a badass.

The setting is unusual for a YA novel, and as such is new and exciting, with different challenges than we normally see for fantasy characters and worlds. The characters are diverse, and, yet again unusual for a YA novel, I didn’t imagine these characters as white. The names and setting are like the Middle East on Earth, somewhere not very many novels are set. Hamilton thus brings a different dynamic to YA fantasy, one that I hope other authors will pick up on – not every fantasy needs to be set in a counterpart to the Western world.

I loved the feminist aspect, and the romance didn’t feel forced or unexpected. Action is definitely the forefront of this book, and Rebel shows that you don’t need a big dramatic romance in a good book – the other plot arcs can really carry a book. There were also some brilliant twists that I wasn’t expecting, but that made sense in hindsight – a sign of a good book.

Rebel has got a lot of brilliant reviews, but it fell a little short of 5 stars for me. I would have liked the characters to have been a little more developed (I think that perhaps too many characters are introduced too quickly). The book also felt like it dragged a little – although at 358 pages, this is more due to the style that to actual length. High octane action movies often have little plot spread over 2 hours – Rebel feels at times like a 4/5/6 hour action movie (depending on how long it takes you to read the book!). There are many more events in the novel than there would be in a film, and that takes some getting used to.

A promising and original YA debut, I’m hoping for many more beautiful covers (and stories) to come!

View all my reviews