Post YALC Haul

Hello guys, it has been far too long since I last updated here. Mainly because I just started working, the culmination of six years of medical school. Do not fear, I have still been reading and just over a week ago I attended YALC, which if you’re not a book fiend from Britain, is a Young Adult Literature festival held during London Film and Comic Con.

I was only able to attend on the Saturday due to work obligations, but, honestly, it was probably best for my bank balance that it only was one day. So, for uninitiated, YALC is a three day event with lots of author talks, signings, publisher stalls and general book tomfoolery. There’s competitions and ARC giveaways and opportunities for industry workshops. Basically, if you enjoy Young Adult fiction, it’s your dream come true.

In my last post I talked about the books that I wanted to read before YALC. I didn’t quite manage to read all of them, but those I did I really truly adored. Expect a full length review of ‘Sorcerer to the Crown’ by Zen Cho at a later date, but for now I’ll say it will meet all your Jonathan Strange cravings but actually has women and people of colour in the story too (aka, both the protagonists). It’s wild and fun and has more than a hint of Austen, with a fiery heroine who won’t settle for less, and her quietly suffering, and somewhat reluctant Master.

The other books I managed to read before attending were Samantha Shannon’s ‘The Bone Season’ and ‘The Mime Order’. Now, the first time I read TBS, several years ago now, I really was not a fan. I couldn’t really tell you why, but I did feel it was slightly overhyped and I wasn’t reading a lot of young adult fiction at the time. However, on this read through I found I enjoyed it a lot, like, a lot a lot. I don’t know whether that’s because I’ve read more YA or my tastes as a reader have slightly changed, but it feels quite bizarre to have such a U-turn in feelings about a book. I think it definitely proves how time and environment specific a reading experience can be!

I hauled a couple of books to London to get signed and came back with a WHOLE lot more!

See any there that you’ve been meaning to read? I’m currently reading an ARC of ‘Invictus’ by Ryan Graudin (which is glorious, by the way), but I have both my eyes on ‘The Hazel Wood’ for afterwards.

The second amazing thing about YALC, apart from the books, was getting to meet Mona, who I’d talked to on twitter but never met! She’s an absolutely adorable artist, with great style, even greater hair and amazing art. You can find a link to her twitter below, she does a lot of fanart for the same books that I love, so you should love what you see 💜🌙

So, night for now my dears. Happy reading!

Friday Feelings

The one thing I’ve noticed whilst looking back through my archive is that I’ve never really posted anything more personal, or personable. I’d like to start posting more than reviews, so consider this my first foray.

This week has been a bit weird, to be honest. I got the phone call last night to say that my grandma had died, and I’ve nowhere near processed that yet, so I’m going to find some solace in books and the beach this weekend.

Currently, as part of my final placement for medical school, I’m working on a tiny archipelago of islands off the North of Scotland. It’s pretty unusual to not feel as if you’re being blown off your feet…it’s also pretty unusual to leave the house in anything other than a waterproof jacket. It is, however, ridiculously beautiful. I went for a run today down by the beach and the water was so clear that you could see the seabed from the end of the pier, a rarity when it comes to Atlantic waters. The splendid isolation has meant that I’ve managed to get at lot of reading done, and, also, a lot of writing.

It’s pretty unlikely that any of you know about my writing, I tend to keep quiet about it around anyone other than my beta. That’s not because I don’t want to talk about it, I’m just at the stage of my manuscript where talking about it takes away from actual time that could be spent editing it. I will say a couple of things: it’s enormous, four POVs, sitting at about 180k words; it’s high fantasy, because who can help writing about mages, but also very character driven (and incredibly queer).  The one thing that I realised whilst writing it, is that I just can’t understand the mentality of writers who think that diversity is ‘forced’. If your eyes and heart are open to the world that you live in and the people in it, writing a book with characters of different races, genders, sexualities and health needs is never ‘forced’.

Currently Reading

  1. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

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I actually finished this book just before I started writing this post, but I’m still working out my thoughts for a formal review. One of the initial reasons I picked it up, apart from the plot which is an awesome mix of ghouls, blood magic and classical alchemy, is the rarity of non-eurocentric fantasy written by a POC author. I’ve read ‘fantasy Middle Eastern’ novels in the past written by people without Middle Eastern heritage which have just left a bad taste in my mouth. Saladin Ahmed is, by his own definition, Arab American and it was really awesome to read a fantasy that was respectful to the culture it drew upon. I’ll definitely by picking up other media written by him in the future!

2. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

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I’m on a bit of an epic fantasy binge at the moment. I’d had this book sitting on my kindle for a while, slightly daunted by the sheer size and density of it, but decided to pick it up on a whim after finishing ACOTAR last week. It’s very different to what I expected, much more political and keeping more of a distance from the characters than some of the YA books I’ve been reading recently. It tells the story of the displaced peoples of Lumatere, a land that has been magically sealed by a powerful curse, and their struggle to break the spell on their homeland. I can imagine that it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s beautiful and painful but very slow.

3. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Tor, whose short stories are my go to for cerebral sci-fi and fantasy, were giving away this novella for free earlier this week, and I’d heard great things about it even before that. I am not disappointed…at all. The novella deals with a school that has become the safe haven for children and young adults who have returned from faerie and found themselves increasingly lost and disillusioned in the ‘real world’. I haven’t read that much yet, but already I’ve fallen in love with the writing style and our protagonist.

Currently Watching

I’m one of those people that’s really rubbish at finishing TV series or sitting through movies, which is hilarious because I often read books in one sitting. Two series that have managed to keep my attention currently are ‘The Expanse’ (S1), which is giving me all the nostalgic Battlestar Galactica emotions, and ‘Attack on Titan’ (SNK, S1), which somehow I never ended up watching until now…yeah, I don’t understand either.

I’m also permanently watching ‘Critical Role’ between the new episodes and my current watch through from the beginning (I’m on episode 20). It always reminds me that I need to find a D&D group I can actually play in, rather than being perma-DM. It’s a sad fact that I’ve never played D&D as anything other than the Dungeon Master…I want to play as the Elf Ranger I’ve meticulously built a backstory for, oops.

Currently Playing

Sadly, my Xbox, with my copy of ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ and my beautiful alien girlfriend, is a good 1000 km away right now. Whilst away from home, I’ve been playing ‘Baldur’s Gate’ on my laptop, which I’ve been really enjoying. It’s a huge jump from the graphics of ME:A to the near pixel art of BG, but the story’s so good that I’ve barely noticed to be honest.

Coming Up

So, in the next month I’ve got some cool stuff coming up. Look out for an interview with a Elise Kova that I’ll be posting towards the end of the month, and another cover reveal that I’m very excited about.

There’s also be some reviews for much anticipated May releases and the answers to a  tag that I’ve been nominated to do.

As always, if you have any queries or suggestions for content you’d like to see more of, the blog contact form and my email are always open.

 

 

Exam Hiatus

So, I haven’t been able to be quite as active as I would like to be on here recently, and there’s an easy answer for why. I have my final year Medical School Exams in five days and, as such, have therefore been spending every waking moment of the last month or so with my head in a book.

However, when exams end in little under two weeks, I already have a list of books that I have read and have been preparing reviews for:

  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  • A Conjuring of Light by V E Schwab
  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Fair Rebel by Steph Swainston
  • Candidate by Rachel E Carter
  • The Promise of the Child by Tom Toner
  • History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera 
  • Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

So, do not fear, I haven’t gone anywhere and will be back soon…once this awful period of revision hell is over.