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!

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‘TBR’ Tuesday

I have been working my way through a couple of very large books recently, and I have to say, there is nothing more satisfying to me than a book so large that it makes the table vibrate when it’s dropped onto it! I have my eye on a beautiful stack of books for the next couple of weeks, so, without further ado, here’s a little peek at my ‘to be read’ pile.

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‘Lord of Shadows’ (Cassandra Clare)

Happy Book Birthday to Cassandra Clare’s newest addition to the Shadowhunter universe. ‘Lady Midnight’ was the book that renewed my love for this world, after a couple of years of being out of the loop. I adore Mark Blackthorn and I can’t wait to see where this book leads my child and whether he will be reunited with Kieran (though I wouldn’t say no to him being reunited with Kieran and Cristina…)

I picked up my copy today at my local bookshop and this is a book of truly epic proportions, I could feel my satchel sawing into the side of my neck with the weight!

shattered-fc-vShattered Minds (Laura Lam)

The latest offering in Laura Lam’s awesome Pacifica series, I received an ARC the other day and can’t wait to dig in. The first book in this world ‘False Hearts’ was one of my favourite books of last year, introducing the drug ‘Zeal’, a substance which allows people to control their dreams, with highly addictive consequences.

‘Shattered Minds’ follows this tradition, with protagonist Carina using this dreamscape to quell her urge to kill. It looks dark and gritty, and look at that gorgeous cover! Definitely my next read on my Kindle, I feel.

godblindGodblind (Anna Stephens)

Ok, so this is not technically on my TBR as I’ve already started reading it, but, holy crap, I am enjoying this book. I don’t know why, but I stopped reading grimdark for a little bit, yeah, I have no idea why either, but I really glad I picked it up again. This book comes with all the classic warnings for grimdark (bloody violence, threat of rape, gore, metric fucktons of cursing), so if you don’t like grimdark then, well, it’s probably not for you. If you do like a bit of gore and black humour once in a while then this is one you should definitely add to your TBR. It’s out next month via Harper Voyager, and if you’re a fan of Joe Abercrombie or Mark Lawrence then it should probably just be an instabuy for you.

Screen Shot 2017-05-23 at 19.21.38 Strange the Dreamer (Laini Taylor)

Shamefully, I have to admit that I still haven’t got around to reading ‘Strange the Dreamer’, which is surprising considering it’s a book entirely about libraries, which are, obviously, one of my favourite things!

I was a big fan of the ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’ Trilogy and I’ve heard such good things about this book that you can be sure it is high on my tbr list! Weirdly enough I was in Foyles in London the other day and found DOSAB shelved as ‘horror’, which was…surprising.

Soon, my pretty, I shall get to you soon.

final-coverCity of Strife (Claudie Arseneault)

Magical cities, politics, elves, an awesomely diverse cast; what’s not to love? I’ve been searching for lgbt fantasy in earnest ever since I read and fell in love with ‘Ariah’ by BR Sanders last year. This one has awesome reviews, and everything that people are saying sounds like it’s adding up to something I’d adore. I keep having to tell myself to finish the book I’m reading and not just impulsively start this, oops. I shall update you all on the queer elves once I sink my teeth into this!

So, yes, I am way too exited about my tbr at the moment…it’s so awesome, there are so many cool books and there are yet more amazing books to come. I am quite literally bathing in perfect books, looking to the horizon and seeing Jay Kristoff’s ‘Godsgrave’, Cindy Pon’s ‘Want’ and V E Schwab’s ‘This Dark Duet’ all so near and yet so far.

Have you got any books that you are really looking forward to starting, and what is it about them that’s making you so excited?

 

Interview + Giveaway: Elise Kova talks Loom, Music and Inspiration

As I’m sure many of you know by now, I’m a huge Elise Kova fan! I was given the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of ‘The Alchemists of Loom’ last year and fell in love with the dark steampunk world with its rich characters and videogame-like action sequences.

To give you a flavour, here’s is the synopsis for Book One, ‘The Alchemists of Loom’:


‘Her vengeance. His vision.
 
Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer-turned-thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.
 
Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins. 
 
When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.
 
He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.’

 


Now, with the release date of second book in the Loom Trilogy, ‘The Dragons of Nova’, looming ever closer I was lucky enough to get the chance to ask Elise some questions about her world and her inspirations!

  • The world of Loom is a very cinematic one. When you first started to envisage this story were there any images and ideas that stood out to you before all else?

[Elise] I’ve spoken about my video game influence in a few other interviews over the course of the read-along, so I’ll just take this as an opportunity to share my Loom Pinterest board which has a ton of my original inspirations and world images. 

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  • You’ve mentioned before that music had a profound impact on your writing of the ‘Air Awakens’ series, are there any songs that, through the writing process, you can’t hear without thinking of Loom?

[Elise] I wrote to a lot of the ‘Bloodborne’ Soundtrack, it was my “get in the mood” music when it came to writing Loom. Otherwise, I have a lot of songs that fit Ari specifically and seem to describe the overall feeling of Loom. Some of them are:

‘Control’ by Halsey

‘Gasoline’ by Halsey

‘Fairly Local’ by Twenty One Pilots


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‘Florence’ Trading Card by Nick Grey

  • Which character do you find the most enjoyable or rewarding to write?

[Elise] All the characters are so different that they each really fulfil me in different ways to write. I thought originally I would enjoy writing Arianna the most and her logical approach to problems… But I think the character I have the most fun writing and find the most enjoyable is Florence. I think this is because of just how much she grows throughout the course of the books and how she evolves. Some characters write themselves and Florence was certainly one of those in that she became a lot more important than I even thought she would be to the plot. But, now, I can’t imagine her any other way.


  • Have any of the characters changed drastically, even unrecognisably, during the writing process from the way you first envisaged them?
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‘Cvareh’ Trading Card by Nick Grey

[Elise] I think the closest to this is Cvareh… He was another character who (speaking of) “wrote themselves”. I wasn’t really sure what kind of character Cvareh was going to be going into his narrative. I knew aspects about his backstory, his priorities… But I didn’t know his voice. That was something I had the delight of discovering as I wrote. So I don’t know if he “changed drastically” because I didn’t have much for him going into things. But he definitely became someone I didn’t expect. 


  • Say you were to find yourself in Loom, harvesting dragon parts, which organ would you want for yourself?

[Elise] I think I would go for hands. I like the idea of being able to make illusions and think it could be used in ways that are both good (like “taking” someone who couldn’t otherwise go to a far away place there by illusioning it around them) and a little mischievous (like playing a harmless prank on a friend).

Many thanks to Elise for her time and her insights into the world of Loom! Keep an eye on my instagram (moonmagister) for a special ‘The Alchemists of Loom’ related post!


For the chance to win a signed copy of ‘The Alchemists of Loom’ visit the giveaway here!!

Bonus Content:


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