BEA 2013: OMG you guys!

The line from Legally Blonde: the Musical has never been more appropriate. “OMG you guys!” sums up my feelings for BEA perfectly. I met so, so many amazing authors and got to meet a bunch of bloggers I never would have connected with otherwise. Namely, the fantastic Mara and Feliza from Girls in Capes, Susan from Read This, Eat That, and Tania from Literary Cravings.

BEA 2013 picks

Now, I fully plan on doing a gigantic wrap-up post as soon as I am back on the continent (my flight is tomorrow) – in the mean time, I thought I’d share a few of the galleys I picked up that I am most excited about (although just realised I packed Amanda Sun’s Ink and Victoria Schwab’s Viscous, so count those in too!):

Reboot by Amy Tintera, Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott, Born of Illusion by Teri Brown, A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison, Rush by Eve Silver, Entangled by Amy Rose Capetta, and These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

Picking these was Sophie’s Choice – because there were SO MANY great books at BEA. Can’t wait to share them all – expect some giveaways!

*resumes packing*



Bout of Books 7.0: Updates

Bout of Books ReadathonIt’s Bout of Books season! For some reason I completely blanked on the date of this readathon (which started yesterday, FYI) BUT it turns out that you can join one day late. So… yay! Here’s the official blurb:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

If you are just hearing about this readathon now, there is still time to sign up! Just head over to the Bout of Books sign-up page – just remember, today is the last day!


I solemnly swear:

  • to participate in as many mini-challenges as humanly possible
  • to blog-hop!
  • to have FUN and read!

I am not going to set myself a bunch of must-dos… as long as I get some books read, I’ll be a happy camper.

Books to Read

Bout of Books TBR

In addition to my May TBR, I’d like to tackle some books by authors I know will be in attendance at BEA – namely: Veronica Rossi, Victoria Schwab and Diana Peterfreund. I think I’ll also read some short stories that have been on my TBR list for a while…



Although I wasn’t officially signed up for Bout of Books, I was in the readathon mood yesterday. I read Kelley Armstrong’s The Rising cover-to-cover!

Number of pages I’ve read today: 406
Total number of pages I’ve read: 406
Books: The Rising by Kelley Armstrong


Well, I got started on Jaye Well’s Blue Blooded Vamp and am loving it!! She made me break out the Eminem.

Number of pages I’ve read today: 38
Total number of pages I’ve read: 444
Books: Blue Blooded Vamp by Jaye Wells


Not a good reading day at all! I got distracted by Iron Man 3 and the insane about of Tony Stark FEELS to delve into my book. Gah!

Number of pages I’ve read today: nil
Total number of pages I’ve read: 444
Books: Let’s not talk about it…

Event Recap: Michael Grant signing

If 7-year-old me could see me now, she would be so jealous. Why? Because on Saturday, at the brilliant Muswell Hill Children’s Bookshop, I met Michael Grant.

Most YA readers will probably know Michael Grant from his Gone series or from Eve and Adam, which he co-wrote with his wife. Me? I knew him from the amazing Animorphs and Everworld series. Admittedly, it took me an obscene length of time to realise that those series weren’t only written by his wife, Katherine A. Applegate – but once I did, he shot up onto the “GODly AUTHOR” list pretty quick.

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So, the signing.

First off, the bookshop was completely packed. People were queued up outside to meet Michael – most of them kids accompanied by their parents but I also spotted a few teens and people in their twenties (so I didn’t feel too ancient!). The staff was super welcoming and engaged with pretty much everyone in line despite the limited space. To be perfectly frank, I’ve never seen such great hand-selling before. There’s a reason this bookshop is famous: great staff and great shelves.

I got there right towards the end of the signing, so I only waited about 15 minutes in line. Michael spent a lot of time with people in line, answering questions with surprising detail. Hearing him engage with everyone else gave me that extra boost of confidence to open my mouth and overshare.

Sure enough, I started off by telling him that – though I was sure that lots of twentysomethings had told him this before – the Animorphs series ruled my life as a kid, and that I’d read every single one (and still have them all). I’d written papers on the books and had, quite frankly, been completely obsessed. He had, indeed, heard this all before – so he told me about how, when revisiting the books when older, other fans had seen all the juicy extras going on in the background. It was that political vibe with its lovely moral ambiguity was what I had loved about the books when I was younger, though it was hard to spot at the time.

We then talked about how the series was published under his wife’s name, and he made a few really funny remarks about how they are in constant competition. He directed me towards the Reddit that Katherine did back in 2011 about the series (confirming that, yes, he was hovering over her shoulder for the entire time). I hadn’t known of its existence but, WOW. If you’re a fan of the series, take the time and scroll through it. There are so many great details in there!

All in all: a fantastic experience. I was so happy to see so many kids/adults/Yerks in attendance, and meeting Michael was an absolute treat. 7-year-old me is so, so jealous.

If you are in Ireland, you can still catch the tail end of Michael’s tour this week (more details here). Want to know more about Michael, the universe and everything? Check out:

Of Sherlockians and White-Collar Criminals – January Wind-up

In this month’s wind-up: Kim Newman steals the stage at the House of Commons (he get’s that from Moriarty’s side), Ally Carter reveals herself to be up to no good (but in a really good way), and George R. R. Martin continues to torture me (unsurprisingly).

The Reads

I started with my first Sarah Dessen book, Last Chance (review here), which was rather sweet and certainly left me wanting more from the author. I then started on Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles by Kim Newman. The book is basically a recount of the Sherlock Holmes cases from the point of view of his Sebastian Moran. Unfortunately I only read the first few stories in the book, as you really need to have a good knowledge of Doyle’s canon to appreciate them. As I have yet to finish all of the original stories – and didn’t want to encounter any spoilers! – I decided to put the book on hold. Shame, as I was really loving it! I also got a chance to meet the author this month (more below!).

Next up was A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin… which I still haven’t finished. But not for lack of trying, however. I am enjoying many of the narrators – but others just drag the book out like mad. But I did finish Season 2 of Game of Thrones this month so… that kinda counts, right?

As Clash of Kings took up so much of my reading time – despite not being finished – I only got two other books finished this month. First of these was Heist Society by Ally Carter – which was OMG amazing. Seriously, I absolutely adored this book. Next up was The Holders by Julianna Scott, which I had trouble getting into at first, but then absolutely flew through. Reviews for both of those books coming up soon.

The Events: The Stranger’s Room Repast

Earlier this month, my mother invited me along to a rather special literary dinner: The Sherlock Holmes Society of London‘s annual dinner in the House of Commons. It’s an annual tradition for the society and, every year, they invite a special guest to address the society. Past guests include Stephen Fry, Colin Dexter, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, to name but a few! This year, author Kim Newman was invited.

Kim Newman was an absolute treat: he gave a very funny talk, spinning a tale about Moriarty and where he may well be now. It was so well thought out, and so well delivered, it made me want to finish his book! (Something I plan to do in parallel with reading the rest of ACD’s work.) Perhaps I should also pick up his Anno Dracula?The evening was a black tie event for members only and I expected great things. The preparation alone was great fun, and the dinner itself was everything it claimed to be: fantastic food in a stunning setting, rich in history, and a night of people speaking about literary characters.

Society member Calvert Markham also gave a fantastic toast in honour of Doctor Watson – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. He is not a writer (to the best of my knowledge!) but he could sure spin a tale. He had the room hanging on his every word – it was one of the highlights of the evening!

In short, a great night – thank you mum!

The Blog

Highlights from the month:

The Challenges

Double Dog Dare: 2 books taken off my TBR pile.
New Authors: 3 new authors read.
Personal challenges: I’m still working on A Clash of Kings, dammit!

A Winter’s Respite Read-a-thon 2013

Winter's Respite ReadathonDespite being a huge fan of readathons, I’ve actually only ever participated in a couple (and all of them the Dewey’s 24 hour ones – which are OMG so much fun). For some reason, I always seem to miss them!

So when I happened upon Kay’s (The Infinite Curio) starting post for the Winter’s Respite Readathon today, I figured it must be fate. Unlike the 24 hour readathons I’ve participated in, this one is a whole week long. Very very different experience, I’d imagine, so I am eager to see how I will enjoy it.

So, what is this readathon all about? As Michelle (The True Book Addict) puts it, it is “a week of relaxed reading during which we can personally challenge ourselves and whittle away those ever looming TBR piles/shelves/libraries.”

So, here are my goals for this week:

  • Finish A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin – I have been slowly reading this for the past, oh, 9 months? I want it done with!
  • Start and finish The Holders by Julianna Scott.
  • Start Heist Society by Ally Carter.
That’s all for me. I don’t want to set the bar too high, as I have a large amount of work to get done this week. But still, this seems reasonable!  I’ll be updating this post daily with a wrap-up of my reading that day.
If you still want to join the Winter’s Respite, you can! Just head here.


Well, despite a slow start, I think I did rather well! I got almost 100 pages further in A Clash of Kings and I managed to start and finish Heist Society (which I adored!). It was a victory, I say. 🙂


23 January
I caught a really bad cold pretty much just after signing up for this readathon! So, I haven’t been able to get any reading done (I can never focus on pages while ill). I am hoping tomorrow I will be fully recovered and will be able to tackle my TBR books!

24 January
Pages Read: 46 (although hoping to get more done before bed!)
Book tackled: A Clash of Kings – page 645 of 969
Today has been… A slow one for reading. I only managed to read while on the bus (although reading while on public transport is one of my very favourite things).

25 January/26 January
Pages Read: 47
Book tackled: A Clash of Kings – page 692 of 969
Today has been… The thing about this book is that some chapters just fly by (Arya, Bran) while others just take ages to get through (Catelyn, I’m looking at you!).

27 January
OK, so the plan for today: finish necessary work stuff, then read Heist Society. While I am not hating A Clash of Kings, it is getting tedious!

… later that day…

Pages Read: 364
Book tackled: A Clash of Kings – page 726 of 969
Heist Society – completed!
Today has been… Victory! I finished off Heist Society in a single sitting. It was just absolutely brilliant – I am buying the sequel online right now.

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge: Show It Off!

Hey there, fellow read-a-thon-ers!

Thinking about sneaking a nap in? No way! Grab a cup of tea or coffee (or a Red Bull) because you’re in for the long-haul now. While you’re at it, get out your camera’s for Hour 20 “Show It Off” Mini-challenge.

Here’s what I want you to do: I want you to show off a book (or books) from your library that you are extremely proud of. The unique, signed or simply dear-to-your-heart editions that you’d grab if there were a fire.

Need some examples? Well, how about that signed, personalised edition by your favourite author? Or how about that shelf of painstakingly-collected of every Jane Austen-related book in existence? Perhaps you’ve an extremely dog-eared copy of a book that’s been passed down through your family? Anything goes – just make it something special to you.

Me? I want to show you two very special sets of J.R.R. Tolkien books. The Hobbit belonged to my grandfather and is a 1966 stunning hardcover edition. Then there’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, from 1965, that belongs to my mother (she kindly lets me read them) and that she’s had since she was a girl. These books have followed us across oceans and into several different homes – they’re special and they’re beautiful. They are the representation of Tolkien that I grew up with, and I can’t imagine his writing any other way.

lotr-3 My Antique copy of LOTR
The complete trilogy (left) and The Fellowship of the Ring (right) without its dust-jacket.
The Hobbit with its slipcase.
As you can see, they are well-loved but still in fantastic condition considering they are almost 50 years old! If you can’t tell from the photos, both editions have engravings on them: Dwarvish on The Hobbit, and the Black Speech of Mordor on The Lord of the Rings.
Now, show off yours!
  • Take a picture of a book/books from your library you really want to show off: signed editions, rare editions, obsessively-organized Sherlock Holmes collections – just whatever is special to you!
  • Post your photo on your blog, twitter, facebook, flickr, etc. then add your link below.
  • If your email address is not on your blog/twitter/etc., please post it in the comments with the number of your entry. (i.e. “I’m Sarah, entry #5, my email is…”)
  • One winner will be chosen to receive a $15/£10 gift certificate to Amazon.
  • This challenge will close at 5 am CDT / 12 noon CET.
ETA: CHALLENGE NOW CLOSED! If you missed the deadline but have taken a picture, please share it in the comments! Winner: Kim @ Page after Page!


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