YALC 2016 

For the second year in a row, I had the pleasure of attending the Young Adult Literature Convention or YALC for short. This year is the third time the event has been held and it was started by Malorie Blackman, author of the ‘Naughts and Crosses’ series. 

Last year I attended and was inspired some of the bloggers I met there. So YALC is the reason that this blog exists and for that reason I am fond of it. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend on the Saturday this year, which was probably for the best considering I was sick when I went. Nonetheless, I had to go, no matter how ill I was (also the tickets are non-refundable…)

The journey was a hassle to say the least and there were quite a few train changes throughout. I live in an outer borough of London so I’m quite lucky in that respect, but as I don’t travel that much it was still a struggle. But, so that I did not get lost, I just followed the masses in cosplay.


As soon as I got there I went straight over to the freebies table and crammed my tote bag full of them. I now have tons of posters, badges and little postcard things. There was even a temporary tattoo; how could I possibly resist?!

To be quite honest, one of the best part of the free stuff at YALC has to be the tote bags. And this year I got a ‘Lady Midnight’ one, which I’m supremely pleased with. 

After the freebie table had been well and truly raided, I spent a while perusing the book stalls. Of course, the sheer amount of books overwhelmed me and within a matter of minutes my money was gone and my bag was about ten times heavier.

A nice touch this year was the Waterstones pop-up store. Last year, it was just an elongated stall, but this year there were shelves and a cash register and everything.  Also the staff were all dressed up in there bookish cosplay.


It was here that I had the pleasure of running into V. E. Schwab , which was a complete surprise! She was kind enough to sign the copy of ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’, which I dashed to buy when I saw her there.

I actually only went to see one talk at YALC this year and that was the Squad Goals talk featuring my favourite, Holly Bourne. 


I don’t know why I sat so far back, but I left a bit early anyway, because I wanted to get in line for Holly’s signing. It was so nice meeting her and she signed some books I brought on behalf of my friend.

Something I was massively thankful for once agin this year was the chill out area. I was able to eat my lunch in comfort and flick through my freebies and purchases.

Speaking of purchases, here are all the books I obtained at YALC this year:

  • ‘The Versions of Us’ by Laura Barnett
  • ‘Changers’ the T Cooper and Allison Glock-Cooper
  • ‘How Not To Disappear’by Clare Furniss
  • ‘Illuminae’ by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • ‘Accidental Superstar’ by Marianne Levy
  • ‘Darkmere’ by Helen Maslin 
  • ‘Crow Moon’ by Anna McKerrow
  • ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ by V. E. Schwab
  • ‘Contagion’ by Teri Terry
  • ‘The Warrior Heir’ by Cinda Williams Chima

I am very pleased with all my new books and the YALC event as a whole. It’s a great place to meet like minded people and make new friends. If you haven’t been yet I would definitely consider attending next year.

💜DW

Creating Your Characters | Being A Young Writer #3

If you’re writing your story, you may be thinking that it doesn’t matter too much about your characters because your plot is the best thing since sliced bread. Well you would be very wrong.

Your characters, in my opinion, are the most important component to your book. It is your characters that connect to your readers and it is this connection on which the success of your writing relies.

But you may be a writer who struggles with characterisation in all aspects of the word. So today I’m going to tell you how I deal with writing my characters for them to seem realistic.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is clichés. Although your characters may accidentally fit into some of them, you generally want avoid them. It makes your writing seem bored and does not mark it as individual.

Also, when giving information on your characters don’t go overboard . Yes it is important the reader gets to know the characters to create connections with them, but take it easy. Ease up on the accelerating pad and drop in facts here and there not all at once. Not only will this improve your writing style by making it less stodgy, but it will allow the connection between reader and character to be more gradual.

The next thing I’m going to say may sound completely ridiculous, but just go with it. Let the characters write themselves. Of course you will be the one churning out the words, but the character will make decisions within the plot based on traits you’ve given them. If you force them away from a decision, it won’t be realistic, because you will be going against their personality.

This is all just my opinion on the whole writing process and you may disagree and do things differently. I hope this helped.

Author Interview: Lisa Drakeford, Author of ‘The Baby’

So I was supposed to put this up ages ago, but I just got completely swamped with other stuff and I tried to do it, but my computer refused to work on WordPress. Anyway, here it is!


 

Daniel: To those who haven’t yet read ‘The Baby’, can you sum the book up in six words?

Lisa: Surprise. Babies. Have. Massive. Effects!

Daniel: What other YA books would you recommend to fans of ‘The Baby’ and why?

Lisa: Seed by Lisa Heathfield because it’s damn good YA fiction. Trouble by Non Pratt because she gets teenage girls. We Were Liars by E Lockhart because that island evokes a rawness which makes you ache. One by Sarah Crossan because….oh,it’s beautiful. Stolen by Lucy Christopher because she makes you feel things that you shouldn’t. Anything by Melvin Burgess because he’s the king of YA and anything by Kevin Brooks because he gets teenage boys.

Daniel: How happy were you with the ending of ‘The Baby’, without giving anything away?

Lisa: I was extremely happy with the ending. I was determined to make The Baby as real as possible. It’s set in five months with a month for each character. It would be totally unrealistic if, after every month each story was complete. That’s not real life. The Baby is a snapshot of the five character’s lives. Their lives will go on. (Indeed they have done, in the sequel which is sitting in my computer which nobody has seen.)

Daniel: Why did you want to deal with the issues of teenage pregnancy and domestic abuse in the book?

Lisa: I don’t really deal with teenage pregnancy – it’s more about teenage parenthood. Nicola’s baby is a ready-made pregnancy. She’s one of a handful of people who don’t know they’re pregnant until the latter stages of childbirth. That said, the UK has the highest teen pregnancy rate in Western Europe, so it doesn’t feel too unreal to include it. The grounds for Nicola’s pregnancy are fairly typical and have to be acknowledged.

Domestic abuse? I know it goes on and I’d like to think that someone might be able to relate to a destructive, twisted relationship which became difficult to deal with. Both Jonty and Olivia knew things were wrong but didn’t have the maturity to solve the problem. I’d like to think that by the end of the story the reader has a better understanding of how these things can happen. It was important that Jonty realised the consequences of his actions. I like to think that he did.

Daniel: What was the hardest part about writing about teenage pregnancy and/or domestic abuse?

Lisa: The domestic abuse was very difficult to write about. I didn’t want people to automatically hate Jonty. I wanted them to see why he did what he did and I didn’t want Olivia to be a tragic victim. They are both normal teenagers who let a difficult situation get out of hand. I hope I explained the behaviour rather than excused it. This was always my concern. It was forever at the back of my mind when I wrote it.

The pregnancy was less difficult to write about. I’ve had two kids of my own (albeit not when I was a teenager) so I know what kind of effect a baby can have on your life. And I’ve taught teen mums so I understand how isolated, lonely and scary that kind of life can be.

Daniel: Which character was the most interesting to write and why?

Lisa: It’s a toss-up between Jonty and Alice. I’ve taught so many Alices in my time. They’re adorable and fascinating and I loved the freedom she gave me to go into too much detail which even my editor couldn’t argue with. I enjoyed writing Jonty’s chapter because I think his character develops the most. He grows up over the five months and it was lovely to be able to write about this.

Daniel: Are you an avid reader and what kind of books do you like to read?

Lisa: I am – although incredibly slow. I’m currently reading The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I started reading it at Christmas and it’s now the middle of February. That’s almost a criminal act. I couldn’t be a reviewer like you, that’s for sure. People might die of boredom waiting for my response. But I read anything (slowly) which I can believe in. This ranges from all the above mentioned YA authors, and when I allow myself an adult read, then I’ll always veer towards my tried and trusted favourites which include Tim Winton, Patrick Gale, Christos Tsiolkas, Julie Myerson and Jeffrey Eugenides. Most of these authors have written books for young adults as well, so my advice would be to seek them out. They’re fantastic.

Daniel: Which character in ‘The Baby’ would you say you were most like in terms of personality?

Lisa: Hahahaha – can I say Ben, he’s lovely? No, I’m not as nice as him but he has my music tastes. Olivia, I suppose. She’s a pretty standard teenager and I reckon I was just that.

Daniel: What would your advice to anyone writing a YA novel, especially one in the contemporary genre?

Lisa: I’d say do it. Do it NOW. I wanted to write a novel at 17 years old and I’m so cross with myself that I let 30 years lapse before I actually did. I let student life, a career, a marriage, a family and all the debris which they entail get in the way. That’s another virtual crime. Ooh yes, and talk to other writers, get inspired by them. And of course READ. Read, read and read.

Daniel: Finally, have you got any upcoming projects in the world of YA coming up in 2016?

Lisa: I have! Book 2 has just been signed by Chicken House and I’m so delighted by this. It took eighteen months from signing to launching The Baby so I’m really hoping this book comes out a bit quicker. I’ve already got my editing head on, so please, watch this space!


Thank you to Lisa for doing the interview and thank you to you for reading this.

 

❤ DW

Review of ‘Opal’ by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Topalitle: Opal

Author: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publisher: Entangled

Publication Date: 11 December, 2012

Pages: 452

Blurb via Amazon: The Lux series continues with the third installment of this riveting paranormal YA series. No one is like Daemon Black. When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well…There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on. But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love. After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different…And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever. Together we’re stronger…and they know it.


I did enjoy this book just as much as the other two, but I would have definitely liked more progression when it came to the plot. In terms of character development there was a lot. Actually, I would go as far to say that there was more character development in this book than in any others I have read in a while if I’m honest.

This is the third book in a five book series and usually at this point there tends to be a dip in quality. This is a shame but it is a truth that needs to be realized. However, I feel as if Jennifer L Armentrout has skipped the trend and managed to produce a series at a constant quality at all times. But like I said, I would have much preffered if there was at least a little exceeding of quality.

In terms of major plot events there was not a lot, unless you think about the events in the last quarter of the book, where things really spiced up a bit. For basically the whole book they were just trying to get Dawson’s girlfriend back.

My favourite aspect of this book has once again been Katy and Daemon. There relationship is primed and ready with that sense of passion all the time. There is so much sexual tension in this book and at times it was embarrassing to read in public. And then there was that creepy bit with Blake that made me cringe and feel sick. That was a really good plot twist Jenmjfer.

I am going to award 4/5 stars to ‘Opal’ by Jennifer L Armentrout. I am excited to read the next book, because I feel ,Ike this book was building up to something in the future.

❤ DW

‘Lady Midnight’ by Cassandra Clare: Cover Review

lady midnight

Cassandra Clare recently revealed the official cover for her upcoming and highly anticipated novel, ‘Lady Midnight’, a continuation of ‘The Shadowhunter Chronicles’. If you read my blog, you will know that Cassandra Clare is my favourite fantasy author (it was favourite, period, but then Rainbow Rowell happened so…).

So, there are five main components that I am noticing: water, spires, blonde girl, sword and snakes(?).

Water: I don’t know what this represents or if it meant to be for some dramatic effect.

Spires: I don’t recognise them and I can’t really see them, but are they some building in Los Angeles (where the book is set).

Blonde Girl: Emma Carstairs is blonde. I’m pretty sure it is her.

Sword: Emma’s sword is called Cortana. I’m pretty sure that this is her sword.

Snakes: I don’t even if those are snakes, but I’m gonna role with it. I cannot see any connection, apart from the fact that the Seelie Queen is involved in the book and I can totally picture her lying around with snakes and looking malicious.

So that’s all the analysis I feel I can make on the cover, but it is really pretty and appealing. I am now super hyped for the book’s release on March 8th next year.

❤ DW

Hi, It’s Me, An Awful Person…

Yes, hello, it really is me. That awful, terrible person who is me has returned. Some of you will be asking “Why is he saying he is awful?” and the rest of you already know. he terrible thing I have done is… post once a week twice in a row. I am so sorry guys, but as I explained before, my posts will be sporadic, because school is draining the energy from my soul. This means that when I get home I have to do homework, the I have no motivation to post. This is why I am awful; because I’m not posting because I can’t, it’s because I’m just not in the mood. I am so lazy! So, like I said maybe a couple of times, I’m an awful person.

So here is what I need to post in the next week or two:

  • September wrap up
  • Ink and Bone review
  • Ready Player One review
  • Scarlet review

If you don’t see all these posts, feel free to send me abuse.

❤ DW

Review of ‘Onyx’ by Jennifer L Armentrout

onyx

Title: Onyx

Author: Jennifer L Armentrout

Publisher: Entangled

Publication Date: 14 August, 2012

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 416

Blurb via Amazon:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems. Something worse than the Arum has come to town…The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard. But then everything changes…I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them–from me? No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…


As much as I love the first book, the second one was so much better. So basically it was amazing and I don’t even understand how it can get better but it does.

The first book was very much about world building and introductions to the characters. The characters that are potentially some of my favourites ever. Jennifer, keep doing whatever it is your doing. So, i loved the protagonist of Katy originally, but she has come so far in development and I can see her slowly morphing into some Katniss badass character.

Then we have the relationship between Katy and Daemon. Kaemon. Daty. I don’t even know, but I ship it like it is nobody’s business. Love it! So, after book one there was so much unaddressed and ignored sexual tension, it was actually painful and I had to read the second book. I actually read this ages ago and am just reviewing now… Anyway, this was very much addressed in this book and that is all I shall say. NO SPOILERS!

5/5 stars for this book. I know I give that rating a lot, but you know… I like books.

❤ DW


I am really sorry about not posting for a week. I have recently gone back to school and that plus not being in the mood to post meant I just didn’t. I would rather not post than post half-heartedly.

Pixar This by Ryan Hanna

This is so sad…

Nerdy Book Club

I had a sad conversation this summer.

I’m a regular at my neighborhood diner, The Echo. During the school year, I go on Saturday morning and read. My favorite server (l’ll call her Tanya) asks me about the books I’ve been reading, and then gives me her latest recommendation on a piece of receipt paper.

In the summer, I’m able to go to The Echo more and look forward to it because of the friendship I’ve developed with the owner’s eleven-year-old son (let’s call him Evan). He works at the restaurant to earn his allowance. Evan is a reader and enjoys books, but as I found out last summer, his school uses a program that assigns points to books, focuses solely on leveling, and moves students up an arbitrary scale in order to earn prizes. Evan and I spend time chatting about his hobbies and his reading, in between his…

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