YALC 2016 Recap (Day 2)

Yesterday (Day 2) began incredibly early as we had to make our way up to London from Southampton where we spent the night (well early morning really since we didn’t go to bed till 1am). I woke at 6 when both mine and Hannah’s alarms went off but she didn’t wake up until 6.30. I had turned the light on, I’m sure me getting changed made noise and she was still dead to the world. Eventually I decided to turn on a second alarm and just left it ringing whilst I went to brush my teeth and she finally woke up. Once she had got ready, we both got in the car and she drove back to Windsor which took far less time than it had the previous night. We dropped her car off at her house and then walked to the Windsor train station. We arrived just a few minutes before the train to Slough left, so I went to the train and got a seat whilst Hannah got her ticket as I had more bags and couldn’t really run. I was worried she wouldn’t make it in time, but she did.

We chatted on the train about YALC and the authors we met on Saturday and what we were planning on doing that day and who we were excited for etc. We arrived at Slough in plenty of time and luckily the next train to Paddington was leaving pretty quickly. We got the train to Paddington and when we arrived it was around 9.30, so we decided to go and get breakfast in Paddington as YALC didn’t begin until 10 and we had planned on arriving later anyway to avoid the queue! We went to Costa, I had a blueberry muffin and a berry smoothie, Hannah had a chocolate muffin and a chocolate cooler. We were looking for somewhere to buy lunch and a cash machine since Hannah owed me some money (as we’re going on holiday with another friend of ours this weekend and she owed me money for the hostel) so we got the tube from Paddington to Edgware Road. We didn’t manage to find the Sainsbury’s but we did find a cash machine. Once we’d done that we went back to the tube station.

My ticket didn’t go through the barrier at Edgeware Road, so I went over to the person on the barrier to show her it. She said my ticket had been refused because it was only valid for one Underground journey and I had used it to get out at Edgeware Road (which the lady who I bought the ticket at Cambridge from hadn’t explained to me, she said that I could get around on the Underground on it and never mentioned I could only use it for one journey, although I had already used it for several underground journeys yesterday!). Anyway the ticket lady was very rude and not at all helpful. I had an oyster but it was one that the tenants in my family’s house in London had left and it was expired, so I ended up having to buy another ticket which sucked as it costed another £8. I was a little grouchy after that but as soon as the topic turned to books, I forgot about the rude ticket lady (well not totally forgot but it was put to the back of my mind anyway!). We got the tube from Edgeware Road back to Paddington and then got the tube from Paddington to Earl’s Court. We didn’t have to wait too long before a train to Olympia arrived.

Once we arrived at Olympia, we decided to go and find food before we went into the convention centre. We went to the Tesco Express across the street (which we somehow didn’t spot last year!) and I got a sandwich and a water and Hannah got a popcorn. We then went back across the street and there was no queue so we got straight in! We had our tickets scanned, and then got the lift up to level 2 where YALC was. We went to the toilets first and ran into Josephine Boyce who we met yesterday which was pretty cool! Where else can you go and run into an author in the toilets? We had decided that yesterday, since we did mostly signings on Saturday, would be more of a stall shopping day. We had a look round a few of the stalls, picking up freebies (mostly food!) and then at the Accent YA stand, Hannah and I both bought a copy of The Deepest Cut and Hannah bought another book (can’t remember the title) so we could get the 3 for 2 deal. We found out that Natalie Flynn (the author of The Deepest Cut) was signing, so we went over to her table and got our books signed.

After that we went and sat down for a little bit and I ate my lunch. We then wandered around the stands some more, I bought two books at the Chicken House stand, Under Rose Tainted Skies and Fire and Flood and Hannah bought Under Rose Tainted Skies to get signed later. We did some more wandering around the stands, I bought Burning from the Bloomsbury stand because it sounded great. We also went to the Electric Monkey stand and Hannah bought a book called Shift, which I asked to borrow once she was done with it! The Electric Monkey stand was really cool, it was set out like a diner and they gave us “menus” with all of their books on it. We wandered around a little more and then we went to the Waterstones bookshop and Hannah convinced me to buy You Against Me by Jenny Downham (a signed copy) as she has read it and said it was really good (I know the first and last time of the weekend when Hannah pushed me to buy a book, not the other way around!) and I convinced her to buy The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich (also signed) because I want to read it but I’m not sure whether I’ll like it or not, so I wanted her to try it first! I also actually remembered to get her points on my card this time! Score!

After that we went back over to the Chicken House stand for Louise Gornall’s signing. Her queue was pretty long and I thought that was great, it’s great when a debut author has lots of people wanting them to sign their book. As with all the authors we met, she was really lovely and seemed quite happy to talk to us and I was so happy that she did so well because she must have been really nervous with it being her first signing and all!

Once we were done in Louise’s signing line, it was nearly time for the main event of the day, the thing we had come on Sunday for, Maggie Stiefvater’s talk. We went and sat near the entrance to the main stage and just talked for a bit but the previous talk (on Morally Complicated in YA, which we wanted to go to but kind of forgot about! I was getting a little stiff sitting down so I decided to go around the room finding the clues for Chicken House’s Fever Code game. I managed to find four of the codes (out of five) and we worked out two of them easily and managed to work out the third with a little help from the internet! We couldn’t work out the fourth one though and by then it was time for the talk.

Maggie Stiefvater’s talk was easily the best one of the weekend. I was worried that she wouldn’t be as funny in person as she is on Twitter but I really shouldn’t have, the woman is hilarious. Her talk was essentially a half an hour long stand up comedy set. I also worried that Hannah (who has not yet read The Raven Cycle) might get spoiled for the last book, but she didn’t, the talk was mostly Maggie telling funny stories with the occasional bit of The Raven Cycle thrown in and she had me and Hannah in stitches for the entirety of her talk. We had planned on leaving early so we could get a good spot in the signing line but we were having so much fun and we wanted to hear the Q&A (which was just as hilarious as the talk). We ran out after to get a good spot in the queue but it was huge already. The queue was so massive that they implemented ticketing so we had to queue to get tickets. We tried to get a good spot in the queue for the queue, but we unfortunately were not fast enough and ended up being 226 and 227. We went to see Louise O’Neill who was doing a signing, I didn’t have a copy of either of her books as I read Asking For It as an e-copy and Only Ever Yours is in storage in Scotland, but I just wanted to tell her I liked Asking For It. She was really nice and talked to us for a bit and offered to take a photo with us which we accepted (there was no one else there at the time so it wasn’t like we were holding up a queue of people who actually wanted their books signed).

We then decided to just go and sit for a bit because we knew it was going to be a long wait. We sat and read for a bit and then decided to try and find the fourth Fever Code game clue. We couldn’t find it anywhere though, so we went to the Chicken House stand to get a clue where it was. It turns out it had been taken down, but the lady on the stand found the clue for us and let us see it. Luckily it was quite easy to work out! We went to sit back down for a bit longer and we finally worked out the answer to the last clue (again with a little help from the Internet) and went back to the Chicken House stand to put it in the box. We read for a bit longer and then we went over to the Chapter 5 stand for the chance to win a proof of Caraval. Sadly the game was a throwing game, which both Hannah and I suck at. Although to be fair, everyone in the line sucked at it. The people running the stand thought that they would have to do several rounds of the game as there were so many people there but all but one of us missed, so that made it easy for them (the game was throwing a sweet in a jar). Hannah did get pretty close though, so that makes me feel slightly better about not winning the proof.

By the time that was over it was about five o’clock but our numbers still weren’t up on the board at Maggie Stiefvater’s signing (we had been watching the numbers of books you could get signed go down slowly through the hours, it had started at 4 and was now down to 2. Hannah and I were kind of peeved about this because it meant that we would now get less books signed than those who got tickets for the front of the line, we wished they’d just put the low signing limit in at the start, which would probably have made the queue go faster, but I digress). We decided to do one last round of the stalls and I bought one more book, Wintergirls as it was discounted down to £3.

After our last round of the stalls we decided to just sit and wait over by Maggie’s signing area. It took a while and we were worried that after all that time it would reach 6 o’clock and we wouldn’t even get one book signed (which was what the limit was down to by now). Our number group finally came up on the board and we got into the queue. We met a really nice girl in the queue who was a writer and she told us about her book which we said sounded really good and if she ever gets it published we want to read it! We chatted with her until our turn to meet Maggie finally came. It was brief, she just asked what our favourite book in the series was, I said The Raven King (which I got signed) and Hannah said she hadn’t read the series yet but couldn’t wait to. I think she would have liked to talk to everyone more but the staff were hurrying her along at this point (she had been signing for three hours after all! Seriously what a trooper!). She was so lovely though, especially considering how long she had been signing for. We did get a picture (although it’s not the best one of us, so I won’t be including it in this post! Maggie looks hilarious though!).

After that, it was the end of YALC and time for us to leave. We found a girl who had been at the Maggie Stiefvater signing on the way out and she was really nice, so we ended up talking to her and she was heading back to the same place as us (we were going to King’s Cross, she was going to St Pancras, so same place) and so we got the tube all the way back together. Once we got to the station we said goodbye to the girl (her name was Laura) and then went to WH Smith so I could get a sandwich for dinner. Hannah then helped me to get all my bags of books onto the train before we parted ways and that was the end of our incredible YALC weekend.

Here are my pictures from Day 2 of YALC:

IMG_0240[1]

My signed copy of The Deepest Cut.

IMG_0241[1]

My signed copy of Under Rose Tainted Skies.

IMG_0242[1]

My signed copy of You Against Me

IMG_0259[1]

My signed copy of The Raven King! (Like I said earlier, I do have a picture of us and Maggie Stiefvater, but I’m not going to share it because it’s not a great picture of me or my friend)

IMG_0257[1]

My Sunday Book Haul

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All my YALC swag!

louise o'neillUs with Louise O’Neill

IMG_0237[1]My whole weekend book haul

I had such a great weekend this year and so did Hannah, we’re already planning our trip to YALC for next year! I feel like I did much better this year, both in terms of swag and the number of books and signed books I have.

What do you think of my book haul? Any you’ve read? Any you want to read? Which should I read first? Anyone else go to YALC this year? Did you enjoy it? Which authors did you see? Which day (or days) did you go? Anyone who wants to go to YALC for the first time next year have any questions? Basically, talk to me! I love hearing from you guys!

I will have my #RockMyTBR post for you tomorrow (or maybe Wednesday depending on how much time I have after doing Top Ten Tuesday and blog hopping tomorrow!) and my new Top Ten Tuesday post, so stay tuned for those!

 

YALC 2016 Recap (Day 1)

I can’t believe I’m already doing another YALC wrap up post! It seemed like I waited for ages for YALC to roll around and then when it did come, it went way too quickly! Isn’t it always the way though?! For anyone who doesn’t know (ie hasn’t been stalking my twitter for the last few days, weeks or months), YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention which has been held annually at Olympia for the past three years, which celebrates Young Adult Books and authors (mostly UK authors, but some Irish and US authors attend as well). It runs over three days (and I went to two this year as opposed to the one day I went to last year) and has panels, signings, book stalls and an agent’s arena where you can meet with agents and authors and publishers and get tips on getting into writing, publishing etc. As with last year, I went with my friend and fellow book addict, Hannah.

I had mostly prepared my bag for YALC on Thursday evening (as I had a family thing on Friday) so Saturday morning was just spent getting ready and making sure that I had all of the books I wanted to take to get signed. My dad took me to Cambridge station where I got the train at King’s Cross. I spent most of the journey down to London reading, but when I heard the people in the seats in front of me talking about Harry Potter (I guess you could say I have kind of a Harry Potter radar!), I couldn’t help but join in. The girl in the seat in front of me was a Hufflepuff like me so we kind of bonded over that (unless she thought I was creepy which I hope she didn’t). The family sitting opposite had been to the Harry Potter Studios and I’m going later this month (AHHH!) so we talked a little about that.

When I got to King’s Cross, I got a phone call from Hannah saying that she had missed her train and was going to be late, so we agreed that I would make my way to Olympia and she would meet me there later. I needed to get on the Circle & District line, so I took the Underground from King’s Cross to Victoria. I wasn’t entirely sure which way to go from there, last year Hannah and I went to High Street Kensington and got the bus to Olympia but there is a train that goes direct to Olympia. Luckily I found some people who were also going to Olympia who knew better than I did how to get there! They told me to get off at Earl’s Court and when I arrived at Earl’s Court, I found some more people who were going to Olympia so I got on the train with them.

When we arrived at Olympia station, I followed them out and up to the YALC entrance (which thankfully was better signposted this year!) and waited in the queue with them. It was a large queue but it moved remarkably quickly, so I arrived at 9.30 and was in the building by 10. I got my wristband and then headed up to the YALC floor. The first panel, Rebellion In YA had just started and Alwyn Hamilton was on that panel so I decided to go to it. I ended up sitting directly behind Malorie Blackman and her daughter, which made me very excited and I sent a very fangirly text to Hannah saying that I was sitting right behind Malorie Blackman. I got a call from Hannah towards the end of the panel saying that she had arrived, so I slipped out of the panel and directed her to the right floor. Once she got up to the YALC floor, we went back to the talk.

After the talk was over, we headed to the Waterstones stall which was (as last year), selling books from the authors appearing at YALC. I was really impressed with it this year, it looked like an actual bookshop rather than just a stand and they had a fancy till and everything so I could get points on my Waterstones card! Hannah picked up a load of books that she wanted to get signed over the next two days by the authors we wanted to meet (I convinced her to get both Rebel of The Sands and The Raven Boys, I am such a book pusher of the books I love what can I say!). We then went over to Alwyn Hamilton’s signing queue but it was so big that it was curving around, so the lady in charge of the queue told us to come back later. We wandered around the stands for a while, (mostly picking up free food and badges!) and then went back to check on Alwyn’s queue but it was still huge so we went away again.

I spotted VE Schwab talking to some people at the Waterstones stand and because I’d heard she’d be there all weekend, I’d brought my two Shades of Magic books to get signed, so Hannah and I went over there and waited until she was done talking to the people. I asked her to sign my books, she was so lovely, she personalized both of them and asked what I thought of the books. I said I’d only read A Darker Shade of Magic but that I loved it and couldn’t wait to read A Gathering of Shadows. She said that after page 300 or so it everything goes downhill but I said I liked the pain, which made her laugh.

After we finished talking to her, I managed to convince Hannah to buy A Darker Shade of Magic (basically a lot of this weekend involved me convincing my friend to buy books that I love so I can fangirl with her about them!). We checked back on the Alwyn Hamilton queue but it was still really long so we took the opportunity to sit down for a bit and have something to eat (as it was around lunchtime at this point). We also found a stand giving away free ice cream, so naturally, we went there and got the free ice cream.

Eventually, we went back to Alwyn Hamilton’s queue and it was finally short enough to join (though it was still a pretty long queue)! We were a little worried that the queue would take a while, because we wanted to get in Malorie Blackman’s signing queue as we knew she would be very popular, but we stayed and waited and just kept an eye on the people queueing up for Malorie. When we finally met Alwyn, she was so lovely and much to our surprise, she actually remembered meeting us last year (before her book was published) which we found really sweet! She talked to us for a while and I told her how much I loved her book and that I had convinced my friend to read it and how excited I am about Traitor To The Throne which she appreciated. We also fangirled a little about books we liked. Hannah and I both agreed when we left her queue that she was one of the loveliest people we’ve met!

After that we went straight into the Malorie Blackman queue and it was already pretty long (ie curving around). We knew we were going to be in for a long wait, so we talked to the people behind us in the queue (who were lovely and one of them was a Fairy Loot rep and gave me a free tote!). We wanted to go to Derek Landy’s panel but as it creeped closer to three o’clock and we were getting close to the front of the queue we decided that we would rather get our Malorie Blackman books signed than go to the panel. Once we reached the front of the queue, we talked to Malorie for a bit, I had all of the Noughts and Crosses books and she asked which one my favourite was and I said I couldn’t choose between Noughts and Crosses and Checkmate. My copy of Checkmate was clearly very well thumbed and she seemed to like that! Considering the size of her queue, she talked to us for longer than we were expecting (and we got more than the usual hello and sign, goodbye) so we really appreciated that. She also personalised all four of my books, which I really loved.

After we’d seen Malorie, I saw that Sarah Crossan’s queue was quite short and since I had brought a couple of my books with me just in case I did get to see her (I didn’t think I would because we had planned on being in Derek Landy’s panel at the time) we got in the queue. We didn’t spend as much time with her as we did with the other authors, but I told her that I liked the books that I had brought and had given them positive reviews on my blog and she was also really nice (Authors are honestly not scary people, they are lovely people!) and as soon as we had finished talking to her, we got in line for Derek Landy. The line was huge, so again we made friends with the people behind us and talked to them the whole time we were waiting in the queue about YALC and what we’d been doing and about Skulduggery Pleasant.

When we finally got to the front of the queue, we asked Derek Landy all sorts of questions about his new Skulduggery Pleasant series, which we had just found out about earlier in the day and are already so excited for (you are a crafty guy Derek, we all thought you were done after nine books. I bet when you started the new series you were just laughing at us all) and then held up the queue once again with me finding the books I wanted to get signed in my bag. We both got our books signed and then we got a picture with him, in which we also managed to embarrass ourselves because he asked us to go elbow to shoulder and we started by leaning in with shoulders together. He made this into a joke though and had the whole queue laughing! Me and Hannah both swear that one day we will go to YALC and not embarrass ourselves in front of Derek Landy but I don’t feel it’s going to happen anytime soon!

After we had seen Derek, my friend wanted to go and see Alex Scarrow. On the way there we spotted VE Schwab over at Waterstones again, so Hannah got her copy of ADSOM signed and I got something very special for a friend of mine, not saying what it is though in case she’s reading this (and don’t guess in the comments, again, just in case she’s reading this). I’m really excited to give it to her though now. We then went to see Alex Scarrow and my friend pretty much geeked out with him, talking about coding and programming and his books and I got a picture of the two of them together.

Once we were done there, it was around 5 ish and there weren’t anymore signings that day (though the Derek one was still going on!) so we decided to do a last quick round of the stalls before leaving. I had been to the Chapter 5 stand earlier in the day and picked up some books from there (and fawned over their pretty Caraval proof that they had on their stand) but now we went round some of the other stands. I picked up a copy of The Witch’s Kiss at the Harper Voyager stand and talked to the people there. I signed up to their mailing list and told them about my blog and they said they would check out my blog and might send me some ARCs (cue inward squealing!).

We walked around some of the other stands and ended up talking to Josephine Boyce at her stand for a while. Her book is self-published so we asked her about that and about the book and it sounded really good, so both me and my friend bought a copy and she signed them for us. I said that I was a blogger and that I would happily review her book (hopefully I enjoy it) and she asked me what my blog was and I said it was linked to my twitter, so she is now following me on twitter! She was really nice and her publishing story (because she’s self-published was really interesting) so we ended up talking to her for a while.

We decided then as it was getting close to YALC being over for the day that we were going to head out but we ended stopping at the Accent YA stand and talking to Sofi Croft, who told us about her book Indigo’s Dragon and Hannah and I both liked the sound of her book so we bought it and she offered to sign it for us so we happily agreed. Once both of our books had been signed, we were very tired and YALC was basically over for the day so we headed out back to the station at Olympia.

We ended up getting a bit lost on the way back and getting slightly diverted on the underground, we ended up doing a bit of circle and coming back to Earl’s Court so we could do it again properly! We excitedly chatted all the way back about all the books we’d got and what a great day we’d had but little did we know then that our day was going to get even better…..

We eventually got on the right train, got to Paddington, then got the train to Slough and then from Slough we went to Windsor where Hannah lives. We went into her flat and sat and just chatted and relaxed for a little while before heading off to her student house in Southampton where we were spending the night.

Whilst we were in the car, we talked about maybe going to a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight release party but we didn’t know where we could go. We had very spotty reception whilst driving, so we waited until we got to the services to search. We couldn’t find one in Southampton (at least not one in the Southampton in the UK, though we found a few Southampton US midnight launches!), but we did find one in Basingstoke, which was on our way back, so we decided to go there after we had finished our food.

When we got to Basingstoke, it took Hannah a while to find somewhere to park but eventually she did and we walked over to the shopping centre in which the launch was being held. We got to the Waterstones with two minutes to spare, quickly paid for our books and then joined the queue to receive them. We counted down to midnight with everyone in the queue to get their books and then chatted to some people behind us in the queue as we waited. The queue moved pretty quickly and we soon had our books. We were very excited and got one of the security people outside to take a picture of us with our books before leaving. We finally got back to Southampton at about 1am and after getting ready for bed, basically flopped down as we were exhausted and had a very early start the next day!

Here are some pictures from day 1 of YALC:

IMG_0235[1]Us with Derek Landy. He looks so unimpressed!

IMG_0236[1]Hannah with Alex Scarrow

IMG_0238[1]My signed copy of Rebellion.

IMG_0239[1]My signed copy of Indigo’s Dragon

My signed copies of Derek Landy’s books

My signed copies of VE Schwab’s books

My signed copies of Malorie Blackman’s books

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My signed copy of Rebel of The Sands.

My signed copies of Sarah Crossan’s books.

IMG_0256[1]My book haul from Saturday

signing queue pic

In Malorie Blackman’s signing queue!

At The Cursed Child midnight launch!

That’s it for Day 1, stay tuned for Part 2 of my YALC 2016 Recap!

 

Tips to Surviving YALC for 2016 Newbies

Last year, I attended YALC UK for the first time, and I loved it so much that I’m going back this year and I thought I would share my tips picked up from my first experience of YALC last year to hopefully help out some of you who are going to YALC for the first time  and are maybe a little nervous about it (don’t be, it will be fine!). So here we go, my top tips for anyone going to YALC for the first time:

  1. Get there early!

If you have special YALC tickets (which is what I would recommend as you still get into LFCC if you want to go to that) then the queue will be shorter, but it is still a pretty long queue so get there early to make sure you’re not at the end of the line. Last year there were lots of people with different passes in the queue so if you see anyone with YALC tickets heading towards the door, even if you’re a little further behind in the queue, follow them! They let people with the same passes in in groups, so just find people who have the same passes as you and follow them. No matter what though, you will be queuing for a while, so make sure you get there early, you don’t want to end up missing out on a signing or a talk because you are still in the queue. There is a separate entrance for YALC, so make sure to use that one rather than the LFCC one, you’ll know which one it is because it’s much smaller!

2. Bring your own food

Getting food there is extortionate, so trust me, it is a much better idea to bring your own food. It will also save on more queuing for food if you bring your own.

3. Bring lots of water (but keep it in a separate bag from your books)

It gets really hot inside the building, so make sure to bring enough water to last the day, but do not, I repeat do not, keep the water anywhere near your books. I had a disastrous incident with a bottle of water leaking over my books (luckily it was the ones I’d brought to be swapped and not the ones I brought to be signed) but still not good. So keep your water as far away from your books as possible!

4. Bring cash (and lots of it)!

Aside from the Waterstones stand, pretty much all of the stands are cash only, so make sure you bring a lot of cash. There are cash machines near the building (I think) but it’s better to just come loaded up with cash and enough to last you the day.

 

5. Plan who you want to see in advance

You will not be able to see everyone, so make sure you know who you want to see before you go and check out what times their signings and talks are and prioritize who you really want to see (also take into account that signing lines might be a little long so if there is a talk and a signing line that clash, you’ll have to priortize what you want more). Also maybe leave the talks a couple of minutes early to get to the front of the signing queue! Have a schedule and keep to it!

6. Take a camera or a phone

You will probably want to get pictures with your favourite authors whilst you’re there, so make sure to bring a camera or a phone. Also it’s not a terrible idea to make friends with the person in the signing line behind you, as if you ask nicely, they might take a picture of you and your favourite author together! Also make sure there is enough space on your phone/camera for pictures before you go, as there’s nothing worse than getting to the front of the signing queue, wanting a picture with your favourite author and finding out that there is no space on your camera or phone!

7. Plan out the books that you want to take and get signed and get them well in advance

Yes, you can buy books by the authors who are doing signings at the event at the Waterstones book shop but if you want to buy a lot of books to get signed there, it will be cheaper for you if you buy them all in advance than if you buy them there, since the Waterstones stall will charge full price for them and that will quickly add up if you’re buying a lot of books! Best to buy your books in bulk in advance and save your money for buying books from other stalls (which do have deals) whilst you’re there.

8. Follow the YALC twitter account

The YALC twitter account is a fountain of useful information about the event, so if you’re on twitter then make sure to follow their account as in the days leading up to the event you’ll be able to find out about any changes in schedule, signing limits for authors (there usually aren’t any, but sometimes if there are really huge queues expected then YALC will put a limit on the number of books you can get signed) and any questions that you have that I haven’t answered in this post, they will know the answer to!

9. Take extra bags

You will acquire a lot of stuff through the day, not just the books you buy and bring to get signed, you get given freebies through the day and basically it’s just a given that you will amass a lot of stuff, so it’s better to have extra bags and not need them, than not have enough bags and need more!

10. Bring a friend

These things are so much more fun if you have someone to share them with (I went with my friend Hannah last year and we’re going together again this year), you have someone to talk to in the queue, someone to fangirl with about books and just someone to have fun with. So find someone who loves books just as much as you do and bring them, you won’t regret it.

11. Check for engineering works before you go

London transport isn’t always reliable, so make sure you check that there aren’t any engineering works planned for the weekend of YALC and if there are then adjust your route accordingly.

I think that’s all the tips I have, but if anyone else who has been to YALC wants to chime in with advice of their own and if there’s any tips that I have forgotten then let me know. Is anyone else going to YALC? What days are you going? Who are you most excited to see? Let me know in the comments!

 

YALC 2015 Recap

I’ve been waiting for YALC for what feels like ages now (okay, so I had the tickets for a month and a half, but it feels like longer!) and yesterday was finally the day! For those of you who don’t know, YALC is the Young Adult Literature Convention which celebrates Young Adult Books and authors (most of whom are UK authors, but there were some American authors there as well and Derek Landy who’s Irish) and it runs over three days, with author events, signings, panels, book stalls, it’s basically bookworm heaven! I suppose this is kind of like the UK version of BEA but a lot smaller! I went with my friend Hannah, who loves books just as much as I do and we read the same sorts of books as well, ie mostly YA fantasy and dystopia.

I got up quite early yesterday morning and prepared my bag for YALC, which basically involved packing up all the books I was taking with me! I got the train from Royston, with my mum (who was working in London) to King’s Cross (which if you’re not English and/or have never been to London before is the station you’re probably guaranteed to go to if you ever do go to London, as you can get everywhere from King’s Cross). From King’s Cross, I got the underground to Paddington, where I met Hannah, my friend who I went to YALC with. We then got the underground to High Street Kensington and from there got the bus over to Olympia, where YALC was being held.

The queue when we got there was gigantic, but there were several queues, for general ticketholders (as YALC takes place at the same time as London Film And Comic Con), for those with gold passes for LFCC and those who had YALC tickets. After some initial confusion, Hannah and I found the right queue. Unfortunately, when we got to the queue, I realized that my water bottle had leaked in my bag, which meant that my books that I had brought for the book swap got a little wet! Hannah offered to carry my stuff in her bag, so she put some of her stuff in mine and I took some of her stuff. We had to wait for about an hour in the YALC queue (which was apparently the shortest of the queues even though it was very long and snaked around the side of the Olympia building), but it would have been longer, had I not noticed people with the same tickets as us being sent to the front of the queue and we just followed them, so we got in quicker!

Once we were inside, the barcodes on our tickets were scanned and then we were sent up to the second floor of the Olympia building where YALC was being held. We were given YALC goodie bags when we came in which had all sorts of free stuff in there. We looked around a little first, trying to find somewhere we could eat, but there was just the one cafe, Slice, where the food was really overpriced. I picked up a new copy of Noughts and Crosses at the Waterstones stand (they had a stall selling the books of YALC authors there) as mine was a little damp and dog eared. After that we went to Slice as we were hungry and I got a Tuna Melt Panini and Hannah got a chocolate muffin and a hot chocolate. The food was really overpriced but we were really hungry and we didn’t really want to leave the building, so we just ate there.

Once we’d finished eating, we went to explore the floor. We had a browse around the different stands, eventually stopping at the Red Eye stand. The lady on the stand was really nice and they had a great deal on their books, 3 books for £10 so I picked up three books from there, two horror books and one book about pirates. They were doing a photo wall with pictures of people holding horror related props so Hannah and I posed for a photo for the wall. After we did this, we went over to another book stand that was doing a 3 for 2 on books, which had The Assassin’s Blade, but I already had all of the other Sarah J Maas books on the stand and I didn’t want any of the other books, so I didn’t get it.

After that we wandered around for a bit, checking out all of the other stands. We both signed up for the YA Book Prize newsletter, in order to have a chance to win the shortlist. We also entered to win books at the Chapter 5 stand, by signing up we could win every book published by Hodder and Stoughton this year. We met Alwyn Hamilton, a new author whose debut novel is being published this year. Hannah managed to fish out the golden compass in the bucket of sand which means she got on the shortlist to win one of three copies of the finished manuscript of Alwyn’s book Rebel of The Sands. I’m hoping that if she wins one, then she’ll lend it to me so I can read it too!

For most of the afternoon, we just wandered around the stands. I spotted this book called The Accident Season on the Random House stand and I really wanted it, because I read the blurb and it sounded good, so I asked the lady on the stand where I could get it from. I ended up buying it from the Waterstones stand. I was running out of money after that, having only ten pounds left, so since I couldn’t make the most of the 3 for 2 deal, I went to the Gollancz stand, where they had a 2 for £10 deal and I dithered over which books to get for ages before eventually deciding.

Having asked earlier where the blind book swap was and being told that they weren’t doing one, we did eventually find it, so I switched out five of my old books for five new ones, I have no idea whether I’ll enjoy them or not, but I made the best of what was available and luckily they did take my slightly wet, but still completely readable books. They laughed because I asked Hannah whether I’d like each book before deciding whether I’d take it or not. What can I say? We have really similar taste in books and Hannah knows what I like!

We also met Anthony Ergo (confession-we had no idea who he was before we went to YALC), but he seemed nice so we talked to him for a while. We ended up pooling our money (the last of mine!) to buy his book Dystopia as it was only £4 and we had been talking to him for a while. He offered to sign it, so we asked if he could sign it to both of us as we’re going to share the book. He said he had never done a joint signing before, but he did sign the book to both of us which was really cool. By the time we had done all of this, our feet were kind of tired, so we went and sat down in the quiet zone for a bit so that we could rest our feet. By that time, I had collected a grand total of twelve books (that’s more than I’ve read this year!). We just chatted for a bit and wrote recommendations to pin on the recommendation wall.

Once we felt our feet were rested enough, we got back up again. We were out of money by this point (I was and Hannah only had her card, no cash. Tip, if you go to YALC take a lot of cash, because not many of the stands have card machines). We pinned our recommendations to the recommendation board and because we were out of money, we basically went around collecting freebies. I picked up all the badges at the freebie table at the front and then proceeded to go around all the stands, making sure I had all of the available badges. We had also picked up several wristbands throughout the day. There were several stands giving away free food as well, and I will admit, much to Hannah’s amusement, I went to the stand selling Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda several times, simply to get the free oreos! We ended up speaking to another author on one of the stands, she was very nice although her books were not the sort that either me or Hannah normally read.

By the time we’d picked up every freebie on offer, it was just about time for Derek Landy’s talk, so we went over to the man stage and waited outside for the previous talk to end. We meet this really nice girl Kaitlyn and talked to her whilst we were waiting for the previous talk to end. Once the talk had ended, we went in and sat next to Kaitlyn. Derek Landy was introduced and then he came on and talked about Skulduggery and what it was like to be a writer, his influences, a little bit about his new book Demon Road etc. He was so cool and funny, just like I’d imagined he was and he seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He answered a lot of questions, although we didn’t get the chance to ask ours in the talk. It was really enjoyable though, both Hannah and I were so glad we’d got to go to it.

Once the talk was over, we rushed out so we could get a good spot in the signing line. We ended up talking to another girl, Molly, whilst we were waiting and she was really nice, we basically had a fangirling session about our favourite books. When we got to the front of the line, he signed our book and answered our questions and he was so cool and funny and lovely and AGHHHHHH, I still can’t believe I met Derek Landy yesterday! Hannah even bought one of the Skulduggery short story collection books from the Waterstones stand so she would have something for him to sign. I think we kind of annoyed the people behind us, with all our questions and that we took a little while, but we didn’t care. We had our picture taken with him and then we left, still incredibly excited and fangirly over the fact that we just met Derek Landy!

We were thinking of going to the Harry Potter party, but after taking a look, we decided that it wasn’t really for us, so we left as it was already 7 o’clock by that time. We then got the bus back to King’s Cross, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea as it took us an hour and a half to get across London, but it did give us more chance to talk, so we basically chatted about books the entire way back. Then once we got to the station, we went our separate ways and our amazing day was over. I thought I’d share pictures of the books I got at YALC so that all of you could see them. I guess this is my first real book haul! IMG_0181 IMG_0182 IMG_0183 IMG_0184 IMG_0185 IMG_0186 IMG_0187 IMG_0188 IMG_0189 IMG_0190 IMG_0191 IMG_0192 IMG_0193 IMG_0194 IMG_0195 IMG_0196 IMG_0197So from top to bottom we have:

-My signed Skulduggery Pleasant book (I chose Dark Days because it was my favourite of the series)

-A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan-A Sleeping Beauty Retelling-I was unsure of this as it sounded like it may have a lot of romance, but I do like retellings and I was intrigued by the blurb, so I wanted to try it.

-Three Days To Dead-Kelly Meding-It’s like an Urban, paranormal fantasy, it was one of my free books from the blind book swap, so we’ll see what it turns out to be like.

-Noughts and Crosses-Malorie Blackman-My new copy! This warrants a reread! For those of you who haven’t read it, basically it’s set in a world where racism is reversed and the Crosses (who are black) are superior to the Noughts who are white. Sephy and Callum grow up together and become best friends, eventually falling in love, the only problem being that she is a Cross and he is a Nought and their love is forbidden. I loved this book so much, seriously, if you haven’t already, read it!

-Die For Me-Amy Plum-Another of my freebies! I wasn’t sure about this book because it does sound very romancey, but the blurb intrigued me, so I decided I would take it. I think it’s a paranormal book, so that could be interesting. Basically this girl and her sister become orphans, they move to Paris and meet this guy called Vincent who isn’t normal. I don’t know, it sounded alright, so we’ll see. –

Sentinel-Joshua Winning-This is the first book of a trilogy, so we’ll have to see if I like this one and then I may read the others. It sounds interesting, an underground society guarded by Sentinels but then these Sentinels start being murdered by an evil force. Out of all my freebies, this is the one I’m most looking forward to.

-Matched-Ally Condie-I know! I said I would never read this one, but I didn’t have much choice (the blind book swap wasn’t completely blind, I basically knew what everything in the box was and none of the other books were appealing to me). Anyway, I’ll try it and see, but I’m not holding out much hope for this one.

-Unbreakable-Kami Garcia-I’m not sure about this one, because from the blurb, I get the sense that the main character may end up in a love triangle between the two twins, but it has a secret society responsible for protecting the world and all it’s members are murdered and I have to say that hooked me, so I’m interested to read more about that. I just hope romance isn’t the main focus! It was another of my freebies.

-Graceling-Kristin Cashore-This sounds like a dystopia! Basically it’s a world where some people are born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace and the main character has the Grace of Killing. I’ve heard that the heroine of this book is awesome and the blurb intrigued me, so although I’m slightly worrried about the romance aspect, I’m going to give this book a go and hopefully I enjoy it!

-The Accident Season-Moira Fowley-Doyle-I literally just bought this on a whim because the blurb sounded interesting, basically the premise is there’s this month of mysterious injuries and tragedies and no one knows why. It sounds intriguing, so hopefully my instincts are right and I do enjoy this one!

-Phoenix Rising-Bryony Pearce-I was told by the lady on the stand that this was like pirate dystopia and that sounded really cool to me, so basically that’s why I bought it. I know nothing about the book or the author, but it sounded like it would be a good story, I don’t think I’ve read anything with pirates in it before, so I’m really excited to try this one.

-Frozen Charlotte-Alex Bell-This is a horror story, set in a boarding school and I think it has something to do with ghosts and dolls, but to be honest I don’t know much more than that. I love a good creepy story though and I was assured that this was sufficiently creepy, so let’s hope it’s good!

-Sleepless-Lou Morgan-This is another horror story, about students at a school who start taking a mysterious study pill to get through their exams, but then the awful side effects start to kick in. It sounded really good from the blurb, so I think I’ll enjoy it (well I hope I will anyway!).

The pictures afterwards are all my YALC swag, you have the programme, the contents of my goodie bag and the goodie bag itself, covered in all the badges I collected. YALC was so much fun this year, so I seriously hope I get to go back again next year.

What do you think of my book haul? Any that you’ve read? What should I read first (aside from Noughts and Crosses which I’ve already read?) Would you like to read any of the books in my haul? Anyone who’d like to go to YALC next year have any questions? Basically just talk to me! I love to hear from you guys!

I will have to do my Sidekick Showcase post for you tomorrow (I’m getting far too good at not doing these posts on their respective days, we need to change this!) as it’s late here in the UK! I will have that and my Swoonworthy Sunday post. Tomorrow is your last chance to vote for what I read in the Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon, so make sure you check out that post and vote for what you think I should read!