yalc

My Dream Book Panel!

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Recently, I was inspired by the lovely people at Eventbrite who asked me who I would want to see at my dream book convention? Dedicated readers will know I’m a huge fan of YALC and I spend way too much time dreaming about attending BEA or YALLWEST over in the U S of A, so it got me thinking… who would I *really* want to see? And what would I want them to discuss?

(And also, why haven’t I purchased my ticket to YALC yet?!)

First up…

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I’d like to see a panel on world building with authors who really know their stuff when it comes to creating weird and wonderful fantasy worlds. This panel would be all about writing fantasy, world-building and lots of tips for the audience on how each author works. We’d need only the best for this one so I’d pick:

  • V E Schwab, author of the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy
  • Laini Taylor, author of Strange the Dreamer
  • George R R Martin, author of the Song of Ice and Fire series

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I’ve been reading some super huge books recently, and so I’d like a panel with authors of some huge books to discuss writing fantasy, writing a huge quantity and how they have built their worlds. This panel would focus on authors who publish big books at a superhuman speed and so would feature:

  • Sarah J Maas, author of the ACOTAR and Throne of Glass series
  • Cassandra Clare, author of the Shadowhunters’ many series
  • Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn trilogy, among many others

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You can’t have a hyped book convention without some elusive authors with an exclusive talk. This panel would focus on the price and pressure of fame after a super hyped book, and their decision to stay in/out of the limelight. This would be the panel everyone would be clamoring to go to and would feature:

  • Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series
  • Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games
  • J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series

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So many fantasies focus on royalty, and I think a panel focusing on the challenges and fun of writing about princesses, princes, kings and queens would be an interesting addition. I’d go for an range of authors, including:

  • Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries
  • Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles
  • Renee Ahdieh, author of the Wrath and the Dawn duology

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Now, I don’t think a book convention would be nearly as good without bookish friends and a heap of the amazing UKYA authors which have always made YALC such a special time. These authors I would probably listen to talk about Quorn cocktail sausages, but I’m sure they could come up with a few interesting themes between them!

  • Katherine Webber, author of Wing Jones
  • Non Pratt, author of Truth or Dare
  • Sara Barnard, author of A Quiet Kind of Thunder
  • Catherine Doyle, author of the Mafiosa trilogy
  • Holly Smale, author of the Geek Girl series
  • Lisa Williamson, author of All About Mia
  • Alice Oseman, author of Radio Silence
  • Sarah Crossan, author of One
  • Holly Bourne, author of the Spinster trilogy
  • and so so many more amazing authors!

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I’d love to see panels on topics such as diversity, mental health, feminism, disability, politics in YA, dystopias, LGBTQ, and so many more – I think sometimes the topic of the panel is what makes it so interesting rather than necessarily the speakers.

Check out Eventbrite’s conference page if you’re interested in hosting and organizing your own events!

So there are a few of my dream book panels! Who would you want to see? What would they talk about? Would you like to see some of my panels? Comment below, tweet me at @annalisebooks or create your own post – I’d love to know!

annalsie

 

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

 

Wing Jones Photo Tour!

Wing Jones is the much anticipated debut novel from Katherine Webber, publishing 5th January 2017 in the UK. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants…

I loved Wing Jones and you can read my review here.

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention. You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag to see the latest photos!

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This picture makes me laugh so much (thank you Stacey for capturing this moment!) Even though I’ve done a lot of events, this was my first ever official WING JONES event, where I was talking about my own book and not someone else’s. It was at the Walker Christmas Blogger evening, and it was so wonderful to do my first WJ event with so many friends and lovely people. I am so grateful to have so much support for this book—it means the world to me!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this stop on the Wing Jones photo tour and the book itself as much I have!

annalsie

Review: A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

A Quiet Kind of Thunder
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a proof of this book from My Kinda Book in exchange for an honest review.

Last year, I read a great debut novel that became the biggest selling debut YA novel of 2016. That book didn’t have a romance in it, which was (and still is) unusual for YA. Beautiful Broken Things focused on the friendship between two best friends and how that changed when a new friend entered the mix.

Sara Barnard is back in 2017 with a brand new novel, but this one *is* a romance. A Quiet Kind of Thunder is the story of Steffi, a teenage girl with selective mutism embarking on sixth form, and Rhys, a deaf boy who transfers to Steffi’s sixth form.

I’m always wary with books that tackle disability about how realistic and lifelike they are – there’s a really tendency for characters with a disability to be miraculously cured, but AQKOT feels like it has been well-researched and is sensitive. I learnt a lot about mutism and British Sign Language in this book, and it made me more aware and conscious about interacting with deaf people (for example, making sure they can read your lips if they are lip-reading).

This is a really special romance because Barnard gets awkward teenage flirting. The texts between Steffi and Rhys feel so real, and I fell in love with this book so quickly. I can’t really explain how much I loved the romance between these two, but it was cute and adorable and perfect.

I also really enjoyed how this book doesn’t shy away from sex. The sex in this book was realistic and well-done, and felt age-appropriate.

I can’t believe we’re only at the beginning of 2017 and this is already a very strong contender for my favourite book of 2017. An absolute must-read – and the cover is so shiny and beautiful and I think I need it on my shelf (I only have the proof!). Go and buy it now!

View all my reviews

Annalise x

Review: The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

The Deviants
The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A huge thank you to Cara at MIRA INK for the advance copy of this book – this is a review copy received in exchange for an honest review.

Set in a sleepy English Seaside town, Ella is one of five friends who were inseparable when they were younger. Something happened though, and now Ella is only in touch with Max, her boyfriend since she was thirteen years old. Five years later, the friends end up reconnecting – but they all have secrets and lies of their own, some dating from their friendship, and some a little newer.

This book has so many layers – the format is quite interesting, with a question being asked of the main protagonist, Ella, at the end of each chapter. I really liked this as it made me read on, and, without giving too much away, I will say this: this book is shocking and intriguing at every twist and turn.

C.J. is a master of suspense, and I loved how issues within the book were dealt with – I wasn’t prepared for many of the themes of the book which may be a little troubling for those with triggers as the book touches on some quite serious issues (I don’t want to spoil the book without revealing what they are, but I’d be happy to divulge via private message).

If you’re looking for a great suspenseful novel full of secrets and lies, this is a fantastic choice and a great autumn YA read to boot.

View all my reviews

annalsie

Review: Cuckoo by Keren David

Cuckoo
Cuckoo by Keren David

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been a while since I read Cuckoo (I read it during YALC weekend!) but I’ve been way behind on my reviewing due to a job offer(!) and trying to pack up to move house…

Cuckoo is the story of Jake, an actor in Market Square, the country’s hottest soap. Except he’s pretty much been dropped, and his family are suffering from the lack of income. His dad’s angrier, and Jake’s autistic brother Adam can be difficult to deal with – and then Jake finds out none of the money he’s earned over the years has been saved. Soon, he finds himself homeless – hidden at first, couchsurfing on all his friend’s sofas, and then on the street.

The first thing I should probably mention is the format of this book – it’s fairly short, split into short chapters which are each the script of an individual video. The book is Jake telling his story through the medium of vlogging, and there are comments at the end of each chapter. It’s a really unique format, and after reading another scriptbook this month (Cursed Child), this actually does work – there are enough characters in each chapter, each with a unique voice, that it really is effortless to read.

As someone who has an autistic sibling, I thought the character of Adam was dealt with particularly well. I think it’s easy when writing autistic characters to slip into constant tropes, and I didn’t think this happened here.

If you’re looking for something truly unique (especially in format, which was particularly innovative), and a quick read for summer that tackles some difficult issues, look no further than Cuckoo by Keren David.

View all my reviews

YALC 2016: Day 1!

This year I was lucky enough to attend YALC for the entire weekend! This weekend was made extra special by the fact that I made some friends the day before at a meet-up organised my Karen (A Simple Cup of Tea), which I would heavily recommend doing. Thanks so much Demet, Karen, Lily, Chantal and Kalie (and everyone else!) for an absolutely fantastic weekend!

I first rocked up to Olympia at 8.30am and found my newly-founded squad, then we were let loose on YALC at 9am. The first thing we found – and seriously, I was NOT expecting this – was a GEMINA arc. I wasn’t a huge fan of Illuminae but I’m hoping this will be better and will be posting my honest review (and possibly hosting a giveaway!).

The first panel I headed up was BEHIND THE MAGIC: MAGICAL SYSTEMS IN YA. The panel was led by Katherine Webber, with V E Schwab, Sally Green, Taran Matharu and Mel Salisbury and was a real highlight of the weekend – I even asked a question about how they create a magical system that is original!

After the panel, I got my copy of THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson signed – she was so lovely and the book is amazing (definitely a must-read!).

I then headed to the SHE WHO LAUGHS LAST LAUGHS THE LAUGHIEST: HUMOUR IN YA panel, headed up by Claire Hennessy and featuring Katy Birchall, Nat Luurtsema, Jenny McLachlan and Holly Smale. This was another great panel and the panelists were so funny!

Next up was a fan favourite – the A MONSTER CALLS talk with Patrick Ness, who wrote the book, and Lewis MacDougall, who plays Conor in the film adaptation. This was an interesting talk surrounding the movie. After the talk, I got my copy of A Monster Calls signed by Patrick and Lewis which was a nice touch.

Now for the highlight of the day – the Fantasy London panel chaired by Katherine Webber, and featuring V E Scwab, Ben Aaronovitch and Samantha Shannon. Learning about their interpretations of fantasy London was so interesting! An absolute highlight of the week. After the talk, I got my copies of A Darker Shade of Magic and This Savage Song signed by V E Schwab who was SO nice and hung around YALC all weekend.

This is the AMAZING book wall which made a triumphant return!

Day 1 haul included a beautiful copy of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (£10 from the Harper Voyager stand!)

The NEW Mel Salisbury short story The King of Rats was available on the Scholastic stand – I’ll be waiting to read this one but very glad I have it!

Here is a picture of the gang in front of the book wall!

Day 1 of YALC was so amazing – next up will be Day 2!

Thanks for reading – how did you enjoy the first day of YALC?

annalsie

YALC Reading List Part 11 – THE FINAL PART!

It’s here – the final part of the YALC Reading List! It’s a mini one this week!

You can catch up on the previous parts of the YALC reading list here – one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten!

Enjoy, and make sure to say hello at YALC – I’ll post a selfie on Twitter each day so you know what I look like and I’ll be there all weekend!

I’ll also be posting the YA Shot Reading List soon!

79. James Smythe

Book to read: Long Dark Dusk

James Smythe is the author of the Wales Book Of The Year Fiction Award winner THE TESTIMONY (2012); THE EXPLORER (2013); THE MACHINE (2013),THE ECHO (2014)and WAY DOWN DARK (2015). He has been shortlisted for and won any number of prizes, including The Kitschies Red Tentacles and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Long Dark Dusk is the second book in the Australia trilogy, about a seventeen-year-old girl, Chan, whose ancestors left Earth hundreds of years ago in search of a new home, and who never found one. Now she’s back on planet Earth to take it back – but it’s not necessarily safe to return.

80. Catherine Johnson

Book to read: The Curious Tale of Lady Caraboo

Catherine has written many books for young readers including, Sawbones which won the Young Quills Award for historical fiction and was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. Her other books include Brave New Girl, and A Nest of Vipers. Catherine has also written for film, notably the critically acclaimed Bullet Boy, and TV, including Holby City. The Curious Tale of Lady Caraboo was nominated for the YA Book Prize, and was inspired by the true story of Princess Caraboo – the story follows Cassandra Worrall who is very rich, and very bored and very much stuck in her parents’ stately home. She thinks she’s discovered a princess from a far away land – could this be the adventure she’s been seeking?

81. Deidre Sullivan

Book to read: Needlework

Deirdre Sullivan is an Irish writer and teacher. She has established a reputation for herself as a leading Irish YA author following her trilogy on the teenage years of Primrose Leary, which has been widely acclaimed; two of the Prim books were shortlisted for the CBI awards; and the final one, Primperfect, was also shortlisted for the European Prize for Literature – the only YA novel to be nominated for this award from any European country. Needlework is her latest novel about an aspiring tattoo artist, Ces, who is just trying to reach adulthood without falling apart. Needlework is critically acclaimed, and definitely one to check out.

82. Kass Morgan

Book to read: The 100

You may know The 100 from the hit e4 TV show, but it started life as a book – a book by Kass Morgan. The 100 is the story of one hundred juvenile delinquents sent to Earth, years after a nuclear way left it uninhabitable and humans escaped on spaceships. They’re sent back to repopulate the Earth! There’s currently three books in the series, with the fourth coming later this year. Definitely one to read if you’re a fan of the TV series!

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83. Tracy Darnton

Tracy Darnton is the winning author of the Stripes YA Short Story Prize in association with The Bookseller YA Book Prize.  She recently graduated with distinction from the Bath Spa MA Writing for Young People and is working on her debut novel. Tracy studied law at Cambridge and worked as a solicitor and law lecturer until starting a family. Reading with her children and helping at a school library revived her ambition to write. Tracy lives in Bath with her family.

That’s it! The entire YALC Reading List! I hope you enjoyed reading and I will see you all at YALC!

annalsie

YALC Reading List Part 10!

With just two weeks to go until the big weekend, we have two more installments of the reading list to go! The final part of the Reading List will be posted next Sunday.

You can catch up on the Reading List here – one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine.

73. Keris Stainton

Book to read: Counting Stars

So I didn’t know I already knew some of Keris’ work – I remember checking out Della says OMG! in a bookstore years ago but have never read any of her work. That should really change. Her most recent work, Counting Stars, sounds like it’s right up my street – Anna, an 18-year-old, moves to Liverpool for a new job with a new flat full of housemates. Then her job falls through and her housemates turn out to be a little mixed-up. Counting Stars was released earlier this year.

74. Martin Stewart

Book to read: Riverkeep

Riverkeep is Martin’s first novel, and has such a beautiful cover! The Danuk is a river, and the Fobisher family have kept it clean for centuries – and Wulliam is due to take over its care in a week’s time. Then Wull’s father is taken under the water and possessed by a dark spirit, and Wull must become the Riverkeep and take care of his father too. Perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett.

75. Will Sutcliffe

Book to read: Concentr8

Will’s first YA novel, The Wall, was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Carnegie Medal, but it’s been his most recent novel which has caused quite a stir. It was nominated for the YA Book Prize and has an interesting premise – an ADHD drug, Concentr8, is given to all troubled kids. Five of these kids find trouble when rioting breaks out in London, and they decide to take a hostage. This one sounds so promising, but Goodreads reviews haven’t been great – it’s currently standing at 2.97 so I’ll be unfortunately giving this one a miss.

76. Chris Vick

Book to read: Kook

I’ve seen a lot of hype for this book – it came out in April of this year in the UK and is due for release in August in the US. It’s a coming of age story about a boy, Sam, who moved from the big city to the coast, where there is nothing. He meets Jade, a surfer-girl, and falls in love with her, and surfing itself. Then their relationship barrels towards heartbreak. This one sounds fresh, but I probably won’t get round to reading it before YALC!

77. L.A. Weatherly

Book to read: Broken Sky

Broken Sky was revealed at last year’s YALC and is the first in a trilogy. Broken Sky was released this March, with the second book coming soon. The world L.A. has created is set in the echo of 1940s America and Amity, our main character, lives in a ‘perfect’ world. This sounds so promising, especially as the 1940s is an oft-neglected time period, and I’m a huge fan of YA historical fiction at the moment. L.A. is perhaps more well known for her Angel trilogy.

78. Eleanor Wood

Book to read: My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend

My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend is the story of a geeky girl gaining a rockstar boyfriend – Tuesday Cooper loves studying, music, wants to be a writer and wears vintage clothing from charity shops. She begins a music blog who nobody visits, until Jackson Griffith starts commenting – THE Jackson Griffith, former teen pop god who went off the rails. This sounds like such an interesting premise, one to check out if you’re a fan of Geek Girl!

Next week comes the final installment of the YALC Reading List!

See you then!

annalsie

Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Under Rose-Tainted Skies has to be my favourite debut of the year so far – and it will definitely feature on my Top Books of 2016!

I was lucky enough to win a copy of the US ARC from Louise herself – so many thanks to Louise both for writing this book and for sending me a copy!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is an #OwnVoices novel about agoraphobia and OCD. Norah suffers from extreme anxiety which means she can’t leave the house, and this is her story as she deals with what life throws at her – namely her mum gets involved in an accident, and when a boy moves in next door who takes an interest in her.

What I loved so much about this book (and it was something I was genuinely worried about) was that Norah’s mental illness doesn’t magically go away when confronted by a hot boy. Her behaviour is still frustrating and self-destructive, she doesn’t magically improve because she has a crush on the boy next door, and this was so refreshing and felt realistic. The entire book felt real to me as it is an OwnVoices book, and this really is something special that should be on your TBR list.

Norah’s agoraphobia is all-consuming, and this really shows throughout the book. There isn’t a single scene where Norah’s mental illness doesn’t play a role, and this really is an unflinching and realistic depiction of living with agoraphobia and OCD. I particularly enjoyed how Norah’s mental health affects all of her relationships – especially with her mum. I honestly believe YA needs more parental figures who have actual wants and hopes and dreams and personality, and Norah’s mum is definitely one of those characters. There were a lot of interesting family dynamics in this book, which I enjoyed a lot.

On to the love interest – Luke is a really interesting (and attractive) character, who really seeks to care for and understand Norah, and, best of all, he’s human. He gets frustrated with Norah and her behaviour, which is understandable and realistic, and that’s what made him a great love interest – he really was human.

If I haven’t persuaded enough to drop everything and buy this book now, Louise’s writing is drop dead gorgeous. Like seriously, this book is so beautifully written, it gave me The Wrath and the Dawn vibes (and that book is seriously good too!).

Also, the cover is gorgeous. The UK edition comes in three shades of pink which are all seriously gorgeous. Go buy them!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a beautifully raw #OwnVoices depiction of agoraphobia and OCD, and my favourite debut of the year so far. Not one to miss!

View all my reviews

Also Louise will be at YALC this year!

annalsie