Review: ‘As I Descended’ by Robin Talley

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 stars

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Blurb: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

My Review: ‘As I Descended’ by Robin Talley had me hooked from the beginning! It is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and is set at a haunted boarding school. The POV switches between several characters, but the two main ones are Maria and Lily. They are in a relationship and their goal is to move on to the same college after graduating from the boarding school. To achieve that, Maria needs to win the Kingsley Prize. That would enable her to get into a college of her choice, but she can’t get past popular girl Delilah who is top of the leader board… and time is running out. When an Ouija board game with friends goes wrong and someone promises you that you can have what you desire…how far would you go to get what you want?

I don’t want to give too much about the story away, because I think it would ruin the readers experience, but Robin Talley managed to spin a deliciously creepy plot and it kept me up late into the night to finish the book. If you are looking for a skin-crawlingly good read, this is for you!

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by HarperTeen

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy to read and review on my blog! 


WWW Wednesday ~ 24th August 2016

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


I am currently reading…

‘Crown of Midnight’ Sarah J. Maas

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Blurb: From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.


I have recently finished reading…

I really need to get the reviews done for these three books I have recently finished! They were all such great reads! 🙂

‘As I Descended’ by Robin Talley

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Blurb: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.


‘The Assassins Blade’ by Sarah J. Maas

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Blurb: Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.


‘An Ember in the Ashes’ by Sabaa Tahir

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Blurb: Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


I am going to read next…

Yes, I am trying to read the series before the next book comes out! I read the first book a while ago and loved it, but haven’t gotten round to the rest of the series until now 🙂

‘Heir of Fire’ by Sarah J. Maas

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Blurb: Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.


Stacking the Shelves ~ 21st August 2016 ~

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Hosted by http://tyngasreviews.com

This week, I have added a total of 4 books to my shelf. Two were kindly sent to me by the publisher to review and the other two I have bought myself.


‘As I Descended’ by Robin Talley

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Blurb: Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

From acclaimed author Robin Talley comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.

~ Thank you to HQ and Cara Thompson for the opportunity to read and review this book ~

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 


‘An Almond for a Parrot’ by Wray Delaney

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Blurb: 1756,
In Newgate prison, a girl awaits trial.
“I lie on this hard bed, counting the bricks in the ceiling of this miserable cell”
Accused of murder, she will surely hang if found guilty.
“Already the best seats atNewgate Prison have been sold in anticipation”
London thinks of her as a celebrity.
“The papers are full of what she does, what she wears”
She is Tully Truegood

Orphan. Spirit seer.
Whole at the Fairy House.
A brothel like no other the metropolis has to offer.

~ Thank you to HQ and Cara Thompson for the opportunity to read and review this book ~

Published November 3rd, 2016 by HQ, Harper Collins


‘The Mime Order’ by Samantha Shannon

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Blurb: Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London…

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided.

 

Published in 2015 by Bloomsbury


‘Delirium’ by Lauren Oliver

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Blurb: The first book in Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestselling trilogy about forbidden love, revolution, and the power to choose. Now with a brand-new cover and an exclusive-to-this-book sneak peek at her next novel for teens: the ambitious, wholly original masterwork Replica.

In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love? 

Published May 17th 2016 by HarperCollins (first published February 3rd 2011)


Blog Tour: ‘The Empathy Problem’ by Gavin Extence

‘The Empathy Problem’ by Gavin Extence

Perfect for fans of Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project and Gavin Extence’s debut novel THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS, comes a wild and witty, searing and true novel about life’s ups and downs.

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About the Book:

Driven by money, power and success, Gabriel has worked ruthlessly to get to the very top of the banking game. He’s not going to let the inconvenience of a terminal brain tumour get in his way.

But the tumour has other ideas. As it grows, it appears to be doing strange things to Gabriel’s personality. Whether he likes it or not, he seems to be becoming less selfish, less mercenary, less unlikeable.

Once he could dismiss the rest of humanity as irrelevant. Now he’s not so sure. Women, in particular, are becoming worryingly three-dimensional. And none more so than Caitlin, the ‘unremarkable’ girl he sees busking on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. When she plays her violin, Gabriel could almost believe that he has a soul…

But as each day that passes brings him closer to his last, has time run out for second chances?

Bestselling author Gavin Extence pushes the envelope again with another thought-provoking and funny novel about the surprises, good and bad, that life can throw at us.

Published August 11th 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30302081-the-empathy-problem


My Review:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 stars

What can I say about this book? Having read and loved ‘The Mirror World of Melody Black’, I was excited to immerse myself into another book by Gavin Extence.
This time we were following main character Gabriel Vaughn. He is vain, arrogant, unfeeling and works as an hedge-fund manager for a company in London, earning millions of pounds a year. When he finds out that he has a brain tumour and only months to live, everything changes.
But are the changes just due to the tumour messing with his brain or is he actually becoming a better person?
I don’t think I have ever had such a love/hate relationship with a main character before! Gabriel’s journey through this book is not a straight forward one and I found myself frequently shaking my head at the choices he made, especially when Caitlin came into picture. It just felt inevitable that something would happen and I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book to see how everything would work out.
I will not spoil the end here for anyone, but was not disappointed and found it fitting and a lovely touch.
What I also love about all of Gavin’s books is his writing style. It makes it so easy to fly through these books and still be totally caught up in it.
The only thing I wasn’t too fond of in this book, was all the talk about Gabriel’s job. I have no clue or interest in financial markets, stocks etc so I found that part of the book a bit tedious. But that is literally the only negative I could write about!
A brilliant book about second chances in life by Gavin Extence. I am looking forward to what he is coming up with next!


About the Author:

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Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game. When he is not writing, he enjoys cooking, amateur astronomy and going to Alton Towers.


Thank you to Gavin Extence, Ruby Mitchell and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me a copy of the book and letting me be part of this blog tour!

Follow the rest of the Blog Tour here:

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WWW Wednesday ~ 10th August 2016

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


I am currently reading…

‘An Ember In The Ashes’ by Sabaa Tahir

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Blurb: 

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Published June 4th 2015 by Harper Voyager


‘The Empathy Problem’ by Gavin Extence

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Blurb: 

Perfect for fans of Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project and Gavin Extence’s debut novel THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS, comes a wild and witty, searing and true novel about life’s ups and downs.

Driven by money, power and success, Gabriel has worked ruthlessly to get to the very top of the banking game. He’s not going to let the inconvenience of a terminal brain tumour get in his way.

But the tumour has other ideas. As it grows, it appears to be doing strange things to Gabriel’s personality. Whether he likes it or not, he seems to be becoming less selfish, less mercenary, less unlikeable.

Once he could dismiss the rest of humanity as irrelevant. Now he’s not so sure. Women, in particular, are becoming worryingly three-dimensional. And none more so than Caitlin, the ‘unremarkable’ girl he sees busking on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. When she plays her violin, Gabriel could almost believe that he has a soul…

But as each day that passes brings him closer to his last, has time run out for second chances?

Bestselling author Gavin Extence pushes the envelope again with another thought-provoking and funny novel about the surprises, good and bad, that life can throw at us. 

Expected publication: August 11th 2016


I have recently finished reading…

‘Songs About A Girl’ by Chris Russell

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Blurb: 

Charlie Bloom never wanted to be ‘with the band’. She’s happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she’s asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can’t pass up the chance.

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys’ rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs… 

Published July 28th 2016 by Hodder Children’s Books


‘Unnatural Souls’ by Linda Foster

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Blurb: 

It’s been almost a year since the night of the accident that should have killed Grace. Nearly a year since her brother, Ash, sold his soul to save her. She survived, but that wasn’t the end of their story.

Not even close.

In the months since, Grace’s life has turned upside down. She can move objects with her mind, teleport in a blink of an eye, see dead people … and that’s just the tip of the crazy train.

And that would be fine, really … if she had any idea how to control it.

Instead, she’s stuck in a body that does things she doesn’t understand. And now, the contract her brother made for her life is drawing to a close. Which means he’s running out of time before the demon comes to collect his soul.

Unless Grace can find a way to save him.

When an angel named Michael shows up with answers and an offer to help her, she jumps at the chance—and agrees to help him with his own mission as the price.

Then she finds out that Michael is working with another demon. That the deal she’s made … is no better than the one from which she’s trying to save Ash. And she’s faced with a choice: turn and walk away, or try to save her brother—by working with the very monsters who have nearly destroyed them both. 

Published August 2nd 2016 by Glass House Press


I am planning on reading next…

‘The Haters’ by Jesse Andrews

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Blurb: 

From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.

Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.

Published September 1st 2016 by Allen & Unwin


Blog Tour: ‘Unnatural Souls’ by Linda Foster

‘Unnatural Souls’ by Linda Foster

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Published August 2nd 2016 by Glass House Press


Blurb: It’s been almost a year since the night of the accident that should have killed Grace. Nearly a year since her brother, Ash, sold his soul to save her. She survived, but that wasn’t the end of their story.

Not even close.

In the months since, Grace’s life has turned upside down. She can move objects with her mind, teleport in a blink of an eye, see dead people … and that’s just the tip of the crazy train.

And that would be fine, really … if she had any idea how to control it.

Instead, she’s stuck in a body that does things she doesn’t understand. And now, the contract her brother made for her life is drawing to a close. Which means he’s running out of time before the demon comes to collect his soul.

Unless Grace can find a way to save him.

When an angel named Michael shows up with answers and an offer to help her, she jumps at the chance—and agrees to help him with his own mission as the price.

Then she finds out that Michael is working with another demon. That the deal she’s made … is no better than the one from which she’s trying to save Ash. And she’s faced with a choice: turn and walk away, or try to save her brother—by working with the very monsters who have nearly destroyed them both. 


Excerpt: 

Chapter 1

There was no doubt in my mind of that simple and terrifying fact. And the situation I was facing right now only made me more positive. I dropped my pen and ducked out of the way as another book whizzed by my head, then jumped onto my bed and thrust my back against the wall, hugging my legs against myself. And for what felt like the thousandth time—that day—I prayed for it to stop. Around me, books, papers, pillows, and my laptop were swirling through the room in a supernatural whirlwind. Which meant that my normally carefully organized pink and white room was now covered by the chaos of my other belongings. A place of calm and peace, turned to hell. Drawers were opening and closing, spitting out their contents and adding to the mess that flew around the place. They’d been doing it on and off all day. How everything was moving, I didn’t know … but this wasn’t the first time. Not by a long shot. I’d endured months of this torture. If only the flying objects were my sole problem. But no, that would be too easy. I was also seeing people who weren’t there, moving places in the blink of an eye without meaning to, and having visions of events that later came true. Take your pick—I had somehow hit the mother lode of crazy jackpot. God, I just wanted it to end. I should have died. The thought suddenly drifted through my head, just like it had been doing at least a dozen times a day—since the day that had changed my life. And with it, my lower lip began to quiver. That was where it all started, I was sure of it. Ever since I hadn’t died, this madness had been life. And it was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I could feel the sting in my eyes and the warmth as a few stray tears began to slide down my face. Then a familiar pressure settled on my chest, and I gave up and let the sobs come. I just wanted to go back—back to when I was normal. Before all the strange things started happening, and ruining my life. But that wasn’t possible. Not after what had happened.


Find the book here…

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29224792-unnatural-souls


About Linda Foster:

Linda Foster was born and raised in Colorado, where she still lives with her (very patient) husband, two (very spoiled) ferrets and (equally spoiled) dog. Linda became an avid reading enthusiast the moment she picked up her first book, and has grown steadily worse. By the time she was fifteen years old, her library had become too big for her shelves, and she was forced to donate all her books to the local school, just to make room for new ones. She started writing short novellas for her friends in middle school, and expanded into full-length novels several years later.

The Realm of the Claimed novellas are her first published work.


Thank you to Glass House Press for letting me be part of this blog tour!

~ YALC 2016 Wrap-Up ~

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Wow…what a whirlwind weekend it has been, even with me and my best friend Aggie (check out her blog: http://aggiesbooks.blogspot.co.uk ) only being able to attend the Friday afternoon and Saturday!

So here is a quick summary of our two days at YALC:

First of all, here are all the new books I came home with! 19 all together! No idea how I managed to get them all home!

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They are all so beautiful and I literally can not stop looking at them! Especially the hardback edition of ‘Nevernight’ by Jay Kristoff, look at it without the dust over on…Beautiful!

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And look at at all these freebies, tote bags and samplers…

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(And if you like a giveaway, keep your eyes on my Twitter account! I will be putting a little goodie bag together that I will be giving away sometime this week!)

One of the highlights was definitely meeting so many authors at the signings. They were all so lovely and it was great to meet the faces behind the words! Unfortunately we were so busy and excited that we often forgot to take photos, but here are me and V.E. Schwab and me meeting Chris Russell…

And look at all the books that I had signed….

Next year me and Aggie are definitely staying the whole weekend!

~~~

Thank you to the YALC Team, the publishers, the authors and all the other lovely people who attended and helped make it an amazing weekend! I am so looking  forward to YALC 2017!