Sunday, July 27, 2014

Blogoversary Day 6: Wrap-Up


And so comes the end of our blogoversary week! It's been an amazing week and we want to thank everyone who has supported us and wished us a great year ahead :)


On day 1, we opened the week with a welcome and giveaway (UK, still running)

On day 2, I shared how TAW became TAW

On day 3, Amber, Jack, Rita and Holly awarded some books and blogs high honours

On day 4, Sophie, Hawwa, Georgia and Arianne told us what makes them readers 

On day 5, Fi, Ruby, Georgia and Sunny took us to other worlds

So thank you again to everyone! 

Love, Charli and Tori

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blogoversary Day 5: Other Worlds



Today is the final day of celebrations and we are welcoming Fionnuala, Ruby, Georgia (a different one!) and Sunny to talk about other worlds they would like to visit/live in! 

(I picked this topic because we are called To Another World and it seemed to fit. SO yay!)

Ruby (Feed Me Books Now)


Fionnuala (Books for Birds)


Now this seems really long, but it is AMAZING. So don't skip over it!!

Take a seat, dear. That’s it, try not to touch anything or fidget.

Please confirm that you are 15 years or above.

Thank-you.

You will now be directed to the home screen…

Welcome to the IDI, the Interactive Dimension Institute – you are now of legal age to be shown our world. Or at least the two dimensions that make up our world. We do apologize for the way you were brought to this institute, but our location is neutral ground and as of present you are not permitted to know where we are situated.

Over the past week you have heard ghastly tales of war, and scientific experiments gone wrongs, tales that we; your government, have kept from you until you reached and agreeable age, to protect you, you understand.

Now you know the truth, well, part of it - for the past 15 years you have been in a rehabilitation unit – what you recognize as ‘boarding school’ - to raise you to become pure citizens. Citizens that are now the building blocks for our future, your shoulders will bear the responsibility of succeeding where our ancestors did not, but more on that later.

For now, you will be introduced into our world.

Our world is comprised of two dimensions.

The first, Queen Nada’s dimension, called Charity, admirably, is allocated to the Privileged and their family, this dimension also contains the living quarters for most of our military, and other ‘high rise’ people. It’s a quiet dimension.

The second, Queen Adela’s ‘realm’, is dedicated to the factory workers, and other unwanted populace, such as the diseased and unsuccessful mutations. This second dimension has not earned a name but the locals call it----****10087664 error.

Each dimension has its own queen, but they are merely figureheads, puppets if you will, for the public eye.

As you are our future, you are being permitted access to information that no one else is privy to. So we will give you due warning if you release any of the data that has been revealed to you, the consequences will be severe.

With the invention of a device, the Radiohead, we can now place you into a realistic simulation of each dimension. We do this because once you have achieved your qualifications for your career; you will be moved into one of these dimensions, and we would of course want you to be prepared.
There will be no relative danger. You are as safe as possible.
A pair of headphones have been placed in your lap, please put them on now; they are your Radiohead connection.
An entrance screen will pop up shortly.

If you would like to visit Charity, please press the button for Session A.
If you would like to visit ----****10087664 error, please press the button for Session B.
SESSION A
SIMULATION WILL BEGIN SHORTLY
SIMULATION BEGINS

You are in a fruit market. The sun lightly heats your face, you squint your eyes against it, moving under the shade of the apple stall. Feeling in your back pocket you pull out some change and buy two apples, slipping one into your satchel you bite into the other. It’s a red one. You notice what you’re wearing, a standard issue, and rumpled, light blue shirt paired with beige jeans which are tucked into heavy duty brown boots. You stroll along the cobbled path eating your RED apple, when a child bumps into you. She was in a hurry. You kneel down and pat her curls; you see the scared look in her eyes. She grips your shirt, “Please save me from the monsters” she mutters, looking over her shoulder as two men----****34895747 error. Looking over her shoulder as another child, this time a boy, most likely her brother, runs round the corner. She laughs and runs away as her chases after her, making roaring noises. People around you smile at the children before turning back to their lives. You toss the apple core in a drain and continue down the street. It is lined with cream houses, which look like fairytale cottages without the thatched roof. As you’re walking a friend stops you, you shake hands and hug, and then you produce your second apple and give it to your friend. You hug again, before waving them off and continuing on your way. You reach a central courtyard, with a fountain in the middle. And in the middle of the fountain there’s a bronze statue or a rather regal looking woman, bearing a crown of golden vines upon her head. Mesmerized, you step closer, to get a better look, when something large soars over head and shadows the surrounding area. You look up to catch a glimpse but the object, or animal, is gone before you can make it out. ERROR. ERROR. ERROR. It was in fact an animal, a raven, that belongs to one of the nearby residents that HaD gOtTeN fReE oF iTs CaGE------SIMULATION ERROR. HOSTILE ACTIVITY. Shaking the animal from your thoughts you carry on, heading towards the military barracks, where you now reside. The sun that had earlier warmed your face is now slowly sinking from the sky, turning a dark BLOOD rEd. Scanning in your badge, a solid steel door, the entrance to the barracks, slides open. You walk down the right corridor and dump your satchel on your bunk, before heading to the mess hall for dinner. As you get closer the smell of roasted potatoes, and poached fish, wafts around you. You inhale it.  You sit down to a hearty meal with your roommate and other friends before going to bed.
END OF SIMULATION

Thank-you for being such a delightful host, please leave this cubicle as you would wish to find it. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have for the next five minutes, after that you will not be permitted to ask any more questions until your next appointment at IDI. Enjoy your day.

SESSION B
SIMULATION WILL BEGIN SHORTLY
SIMULATION BEGINS

You’re in a back street, most likely an alley. It’s dark, possibly nighttime. A sharp stink pierces your nostrils. The narrow strip of pavement in front of you is strewn with rubbish, and something that looks suspiciously like a body. Behind you is a brick wall, dead end. You pick your way along, stepping over the body like lump, emerging into a larger street. This one is more active, people are walking about, and there’s a few shacks slumped against the wall. There’s strange smells coming from everywhere and everyone. You look down and see that you’re covered in some discernible liquid; it weighs down your clothes. You’ve lost weight, so your clothes hand off your frame as they drip. You hug the wall to your left; a sudden fatigue has overtaken your body. People shoot you looks but say nothing, as though this is a common occurrence. Suddenly the world turns and you find yourself lying on the street, you can finally see the sky. Through mounds of iron works above you; a single star lights up the darkness. You can feel like life slowly slipping out of you, you’re happy----****34895747 error. SIMULATION ERROR. HOSTILE ACTIVITY. ERROR OVERIDED. You’re alone, desolate, abandoned. Why, you ask yourself, why would they do this to me, leave me to die? A light shines into your eyes. Someone’s touching your face. You try to call out, but you’ve lost the usage of your mouth. Someone lifts you. You’re being carried somewhere. Laid on a table. Someone’s cutting at your clothes. A hot water bottle is placed under your head. Someone closes your eyes. The heat radiates from the back of your head, warming your fingers and toes. You feel loads better, when a round of coughs hits you. You slide off the table. One hand grips it, steadying you. Someone grips your shoulders and helps you stand up. You open your eyes, clear your throat. There are several people in the room. Most of them are rather filthy. The person still holding your shoulders is a formidable looking woman, middle aged. “Easy dear, you’ll be shaky in your feet for a while,” she tells you. Smiling. She reminds you of the matrons who took care of you at the school. She helps you to a chair, the rest of the people in the room have gravitated towards her, it’s obvious she is some type of leader. She’s still smiling confidently at you, she----****34895747 error. SIMULATION ERROR. HOSTILE ACTIVITY. SIMULATION ERROR. TROJAN DESTROYED HOSTILITY. SIMULATION REINSTATED. Her smile grows, at first you think nothing of it, but as her smile gets bigger and bigger you see her teeth. They’re wicked sharp and silver, her eyes are glowing a strange grey. She begins advancing on you. Everyone in the room has changed similarly. As she raises her hands you see that the hands that had just minutes before been holding your shoulders were now mutated into skeletal claws. Someone else gets to you before she does, and tears your shoulder open. Blood flows down your shoulder and you scream, you try to get away. Capture is inevitable, you close your eyes and----****34895747 error. SIMULATION ERROR. HOSTILE ACTIVITY. ERROR OVERIDED. You close your eyes for a moment before re-opening and backing away, feeling around the shelves behind you for an object you can use as a weapon. Tucked behind a stack of books you pushed away there’s a gun----****34895747 error. SIMULATION ERROR. HOSTILE ACTIVITY. SIMULATION ERROR. TROJAN DESTROYED HOSTILITY. SIMULATION REINSTATED.

END OF SIMULATION

We seem to be experiencing technical difficulties at the moment. Please leave this cubicle as you would wish to find it. Staff will be on hand to answer any questions you may have for the next five minutes, after that you will not be permitted to ask any more questions until your next appointment at IDI. Enjoy your day.

EXTRA INFORMATION FOR THE EAGER READER

     I.        Nada is female name with its roots in Slovakia, and means “hope”.
   II.        Charity, also a female name, is French and means “hope” as well, from the Old French charitie meaning Christian love, based on the Latin cantos Charity is held up in the New Testament (I Corinthians 13) as the greatest of the three Christian virtues, with Faith and Hope.
  III.        Adela, again, another female name – in Czech, English, Polish, Spanish and Romanian, Adela means “noble” derived from Germanic adal. But Old English adela means “dirt; filth; filthy place.” Make of that what you will.
 IV.        The name of the second dimension which the IDI program censors was officially Astyrian, but as that name has long been forgotten, the dimension was given a nickname ‘cradle of filth’. You may recognize that cradle of filth is also the name of a metal band (don’t quote me, I found this via research) and thought it fitted aptly.
   V.        Astyrian, from Old English astyrian, meaning “to stir up, excite.” This, unlike the above points, doesn’t really have any relation to the story or plot, I just found it whilst researching and thought it sounded cool…
 VI.        Nada and Adela are not the queen’s birth names; they were given to them on their fifteenth birthdays when they took up the so called throne.
VII.        Nada’s original birth name was Daelah. Inspired by Old English adaelan, meaning “to divide, separate, part.” An invented name for a female character who, for some reason, separated herself from friends/family.
VIII.        Adela’s original birth name was Eldorgwynna, Wynna for short. Invented name for a female “adversary; deadly enemy.” Inspired by Old English ealforgewinna.


Anytime I start a story I can’t help but get thrown into the world, there’s so much that I’ve already created inside my own head, plots and scandals and all that, that most likely will never get written down, but hopefully those few points up there gave you a small view into what I’ve got going on with this story. HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY CHARLI AND TORI, YAAAAY! :D ~ Fionnuala xx

Georgia (The Books Bandit)

This is all from the book Georgia is writing, and I think it will be an amazing book! These are maps she is using and the blurb from the book.



Click to enlarge all. 

After the atomic war that had sent the world back into the dark ages, only one town has survived without all of life’s problems. Annabeth Lakewood is sixteen and goes to Maytree School For The Genius, and is about to graduate into the Army. Only one problem, she doesn’t want to. But soon, Annabeth finds out the truth about those who have graduated from the school and everyone else who lives inside New Maytree. Scared, lost, betrayed Annabeth soon meets Peter Adams, a new boy at the school. Soon, Annabeth finds out the truth about herself and runs away from New Maytree with Peter. And there is another problem; she is being hunted by the most evilest person on the planet. Annabeth has to choose: Love or Death? Good or Bad? Tranquillity or Rebel?

Sunny (A Sunny Spot)

I'd like to live in a fictional world that belongs to all of my favourite fictional characters. Working at the bakery would be Peeta, in the library would be Will and Tessa. Books would be free and every weekend there would be festivals on the streets. No character would die because fictional deaths are cruel (cough John Green and Veronica Roth).


Where would you like to live or visit? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blogoversary Day 4: What Makes You a Reader?

Today I'm welcoming Sophie, Hawwa, Georgia and Arianne to talk about what makes them a reader. 

Hawwa (It Was Lovely Reading You)


Q: What makes me a reader?
A: 

Arianne (Reading with ABC)


"What makes me a reader? I love good stories. I read and find whole new world within the pages. Books have heart and soul. I read and see a sky full of stars."

Sophie (A Day Dreamer's World)


I sat pondering this for a while, as it's something I've never quite contemplated, even though I've loved reading ever since I can remember. Although, I think what makes me a reader is the adventures I've had(so far). I'm never just sitting curled up on a chair or reading beneath the shade of a tree - but somewhere else. There have been trips to: Whyteleafe School(making it my childhood dream to go to a boarding school similar to the one from the Naughtiest Girl series), back in time to Foundling Hospitals(Hetty Feather), the Capitol to participate in the Hunger Games and different planets such as New World(The Knife of Never Letting Go). The experiences I've had, whilst I've laughed-out-loud and sobbed uncontrollably, continue to make me a reader. As I discover more books, I learn of new places, and they have really inspired my interest in the world. Here's a graphic I designed, including some of my awful book photography! 



Georgia (The Bibliomaniac)


The book that made me a reader as a young child was definitely (my first chapter book:) Harry Potter!:D The first time I read it was when I was five, and as soon as I finished the last page of it, I turned right back to the start. I kept rereading it until I was able to get my hands on a copy of the sequel. Harry Potter definitely made me a reader because of the fantasy elements. Never before had I been able to escape from reality into a world that was so imaginative and fantastical and admirable before.
So, I guess the main thing that makes me a reader is the escapism! I love how many possibilities and worlds there are within books, and I just love to get caught up in a fictional story for a while, whether it's in a fantastical land or simply a contemporary thriller.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Blogoversary Day 3: Bloggers Award...





Today I'm welcoming Amber, Jack, Rita and Holly to the blog to award some books and blogs with special not-really-existant TAW Book Awards! 

AMBER (The Mile Long Bookshelf)

Worst book I've ever read: Stella by Helen Eve



Best contemporary: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Best debut: The Elites by Natasha Ngan


RITA (Weaving Pages)





Holly (A DayDreamer's Thoughts)

Best Contemporary;
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Now obviously I could have chosen The Fault in Our Stars, but I wanted for once not to pick that. Whilst I love that book, this is sort of on an equal level as one of my favourite books ever. The feels. THE FEELS. Personally, there was a lot I could relate to in this book, I'm very anxious, I write Harry Potter fanfiction etc. I also loved the Harry Potter/Simon Snow references. This is a book that I devoured, adored and will never get enough of.

I was just like;



Best Start of a Series
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Contrary to to a lot of peoples disliking for this book, I absolutely raved about Earthbound after I read it last year. Sure, it had a rocky start, but after the first 50 pages it really took off, leaving me constantly like this


It's not for everyone but it certainly worked for me.

Best Dystopia
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

"No! The Hunger Games!" or "No! Divergent!" some of you may cry, but the fact is that for someone who doesn't really like dystopian fiction this is just perfect. The writing is incredibly descriptive, bursting with pathetic fallacy and exploding with passages of joy and sadness. Having a Dystopia which isn't so dystopia-ish, It's a cruel, cruel world that Lena lives in, but the world building in Delirium is simply phenomenal.
All I felt afterwards, all I do was just be like

Yep. It was a good book.

JACK (The Book Stop)

Best Minimalism: Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver - You can always rely on Carver's work to be smothered with ambiguity and a delivered with a sense of bleakness, which you have to be in a certain mood to appreciate. But despite the initially alarmingly short length of his stories, he manages to combine power, realisation, indifference, analysis and realism all together in an undeniably admirable way. Short fiction and minimalism at it's finest.

Taco Blog: Booklol16 - Jaden's blog is definitely one of the most unique I know. I love the different way he approaches different things and his posts are always an eye-opener. Every time I visit my mind just fills up with swegtacobredawrsomness.

Most Reliable Blog: To Another World - You can always rely on Charli's blog for interesting hand unique book reviews and posts. I'm continuously amazed at how consistent and reliable To Another World is. I know there will always be a new, shiny post waiting for me each time I visit.

So there you have it! Some awesome bloggers awarding some awesome awards. I agree with quite a few, particularly The Elites from Amber and Code Name Verity from Rita. And awww, Jack <3

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blogoversary Day 2: TAW's Story


Some of you know that about a year ago I closed my general blog, Life Through Rose-Tinted SunGlasses, or RTSG. Some of you also know that I had made TAW slightly before, trying to simultaneously blog. 

On July 25th, 2013, this tweet happened.














I had lied. I really only had one, which was rubbish. Then, I thought of To Another World, and it was born. I posted a welcome post, and a review soon after (Casting Shadows by Sophie McKenzie). I won't link to that review, because it makes me cringe.

I very quickly realised I couldn't do both. I also realised that the closure of RTSG was a long time coming, that I had lost enthusiasm a while ago. I actually tried to get a co-blogger for it, but then decided that it was better gone.

I haven't looked back since. I love the community and I love the buzz.

I didn't realise it at the time, but I have now. Before TAW came about, I'd lost my passion for reading. I still loved it, but having moved to secondary school, not having time... It was just not there as much as it was.

My family aren't poor, but I don't get to buy books very often. I'd read all the books at the library (or the ones I wanted to, anyway). And the school library, too. I had read all the books on my shelf night after night. I was bored of them.

Now, let me clarify. I am not in this for the books. I didn't even know about the "free books" element until I started! 

But yes. It stopped my passion.

I'm thankful that I decided, on a complete whim, to begin TAW. It's gotten me through so much over the last year, as has the community itself. I want to thank every single blogger or author that's taken time to not only read my blog, but help me when I'm down, give me advice, be my shoulder. Or listen to my worries, read my post drafts, answer my questions.

I have loved the recommendations. I've discovered thousands of books that I might read someday, or definitely will.

I have loved the friends.

I have loved the lovely publicists and authors.

I have loved the support.

I have loved everything. Even with the sad things in the blogging world sometimes, plagiarism, bullying, meanness, rumours... I love it.

And I do not intend to let go for a while yet.

Thank you, everyone. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blogoversary Day 1: Welcome and Giveaway! (UK/IRE)


IT'S OUR FIRST BLOGOVERSARY! Well, it is on the 25th of July. We're having our celebration with bloggers and a giveaway and a post or two extra... 


I've loved this year, and I know Tori has the last three months she's been blogging with me. You guys, every single one of you, have been extremely awesome in welcoming me, and then us, into the community and we love you all!!!

So to thank you, and kick off our celebrations, we've got a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You must be 12 years or older
  • TAW takes no responsibility for lost or damaged prizes on arrival
  • Winner will be chosen at random 
  • Winner will be contacted within 48 hours of the giveaway ending. They then have a further 48 hours to respond before the giveaway will be redrawn.
  • Personal information will NEVER be shared.
  • TAW takes no responsibility for lost or damaged prizes
  • We are at perfect right to disqualify any entries we may see fit
  • We are at perfect right to change the prizes if this is needed. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Countdown to August 7th: Sophia Bennett on The Castle

Today the lovely Sophia Bennett is joining us once again about her new book The Castle. Enjoy!

THE POWER OF PETA JONES
  
It’s so exciting to see The Castle in its final, printed edition, with the beautiful, mysterious girl on the cover and the title in shining bronze.

So it’s strange to think that for the year or two that I was researching and writing the book, it wasn’t called The Castle at all. (That title was suggested by Keren David, by the way – author of Salvage. Thank you, Keren!) In my head, this story was always called ‘The Power of Peta Jones’, but in the end, Chicken House, my publishers, decided that could be misleading. This book is not paranormal and Peta doesn’t have any kind of superpower. Far from it. Peta’s ‘power’, as she thinks of it, is a little maths joke she shared with her dad.

It may be a little joke, but it’s essential to the plot. Peta’s dad was a soldier who also loved maths and when he was asked to choose her name, he based it on her birthday. Peta was born on 15 October, the 15th day of the 10th month. ‘Peta’, as well as meaning ‘rock’, also stands for ten to the power of fifteen: ie 10 with 15 zeroes after it, or ten thousand million million. So just as you can have a ‘megabyte’ – a million bytes of data – you can have a ‘petabyte’. Which is a lot, lot bigger.

I got the idea for the name from some Finnish friends of mine. The mother of the family is called Tera (as in ‘terabyte’) and yes, her parents were keen mathematicians too. She called her kids Zetta (10 to the power of 21) and Atto (10 to the power of minus 18) and I happen to think they are the coolest names EVER. Both ends of the alphabet, unusual, interesting to say, interesting to explain … I promised myself that one day I would steal Tera’s idea in a book and … reader, I’ve done it.

Peta’s ‘power’, though, is actually much more than just her name. She’s very focused and almost fearless. She becomes an action heroine without meaning to, just by trying to rescue her dad. That’s what the original title meant to me, and the name and the maths and the many meanings of ‘power’ resonate through the book.

Maths is one of the themes, in a minor way. (But don’t worry – you don’t have to do any calculations of your own!) Peta isn’t scared of numbers – she enjoys them, as I did, growing up. I’ve always loved maths and I wish girls were encouraged to study it more at school. It can lead to some fascinating careers.

I also love puzzles and codes. One of my favourite writers is Simon Singh, who’s written a truly great book about maths problems called Fermat’s Last Theorem, which makes mathematicians sound like the last great adventurers, which in some ways they are. He also wrote The Code Book, about the history of codes and cryptography, and I borrowed ideas from that for The Castle too.

One of the most famous ways of creating a code is to base it on words from a text that both the sender and the receiver know, but someone trying to crack the code can’t guess. It’s called a key. In Sherlock on TV recently a Triad crime syndicate used the London A to Z. Sherlock guessed, of course.

In real life, my favourite key is a poem code written for the SOE agent Violette Szabo by the SOE cryptographer Leo Marks. It’s a very short and simple poem she learned by heart, called ‘The Life That I Have’ and I love it so much I had it at my wedding. I wish it could have saved her life, but sadly she was betrayed and despite fighting off German troops for several hours, Violette was captured, tortured and killed in a concentration camp by the Nazis. She was an inspiring young woman, who deserved to live a rich, full life, and I had her in mind a lot when I was writing about Peta, drawing on all her resources to survive.

My favourite moments are when sender and receiver are using a code in front of the people they’re trying to keep secrets from, and the observers don’t know what’s happening. Peta’s power is connected to her strong and deep relationship with her dad, growing up, and I wanted that to be part of the way she cracks the code.

I love the idea of a password being the key to a problem, and the main protagonist having to solve it under pressure to stay alive. If you’ve read Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, you’ll know that’s one of the reasons it’s such a compelling read. There are a series of codes that have to be solved and, as a reader, you’re on the edge of your seat trying to work them out in time, before something terrible happens. In The Castle, Peta gradually discovers that she is the code, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed writing that part of the story.

Towards the end, Peta realises she has to break a computer password, using everything she’s learned over the years from her dad. I’ve based it on a technique that people in the security world use to create strong, memorable but tough-to-crack passwords. So if you read the book, I recommend that technique for creating passwords of your own. In this day and age, staying safe and protecting our information on computers is one of the most important things we have to learn to do. It’s not just Peta – you too can have the power!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Book Bingo Challenge!

So, as if I need more to do over the summer, I'm going to participate in Ruby's Summer Bookish Bingo!

I'm going to keep track on this post, so if you're interested, check back here! At the end of my summer holiday I will post again with what I managed. My target is all of it or if not, 3 bingo's!




B/1 The second book in a series.
I/1 A non-fiction book
N/1 A prequel                                                          
G/1 A book with magic
O/1 Recommended by a friend

B/2 A fairy tale retelling
I/2 A book about books
N/2 A graphic novel - Death Note v5 by Tsugami Obha
G/2 A prize winner
O/2 Recommended by a blogger

B/3 An author I've never read
I/3 5+ colours on the cover
N/3 FREE SQUARE!
G/3 A beautiful spine
O/3 Recommended by family

B/4 A classic
I/4 An author I love
N/4 A stunning cover - Solitaire by Alice Oseman
G/4 Final book in a series
O/4 Recommended by Goodreads

B/5 Set in another country
I/5 Reread a favourite
N/5 Genre I don't often read - The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery
G/5 A hyped book

O/5 Recommended by Twitter

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Event Recap: YALC!!

On Saturday, I went to a thing. That thing... was YALC. (I'm sorry there are so few pictures, I didn't take a camera :( )

At 4:42am, I woke up. I was meant to be awake at 5am, but excitement.

At 6:50am, I got on a train from Birmingham New Street to London Euston. I was going to read, but across from us was an American woman who started chatting to us... A FANGIRL! Which was pretty awesome. She talked to us (this "us" is my mum and I, by the way) all the way there.

When we got THERE, we got on two tubes, one from Euston to Kings Cross (just one stop) then Kings Cross to... EARL'S COURT! And literally everyone got off the tube and started walking, so we followed the crowd. And suddenly, it was there. Yeah, you couldn't miss it.

Then there was QUEUEING. Confusing queueing! And we met some more fangirls, and saw some AWESOME cosplay. And Lucy Saxon walked past me and I started flailing.

Then we were in. I found the Book Zone and YALC, got my panel tickets and signed up for a workshop. After I raided the hugeeee freebie table and got a bunch of swag! I walked with my mum round some of the publishers and flailing.

AND THEN I MET DEBBIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Faye and Jim and Stacey and Caitlin and Daphne and we saw NON PRATT ASDFGHJKL. And I selfied with Debbie.

Also, the book wall behind us! It was epic :D

I got books from Jim and Debbie, but more on that later.

So then I met up with Sabrina and Georgia, before going to the first panel: The End of the World As We Know It, with Sarah Crossan (SQUEEEE), Patrick Ness, Malorie Blackman and James Smyth. Malorie welcomed us all to YALC with a speech in Klingon (then translated into English), before the panel started.

They talked about dystopia as a genre, and dystopias they read at our age. For both Sarah and Malorie, it was 1984. Patrick, however, said that really, it was any book that had a divided society, rules you must follow and knowing every day that the world could end.

Sarah said that all the dystopias she has read are based on fear. Patrick then said that all of his books are based on fear... but one is a dystopia, one not, and that genre is decided after the book is written.

I left a little early when people were asking questions so I could get in the queue to meet Sarah! And this is when I met Sophie (AHHHHH!!!!). We got our books signed, and Sarah knew who I was from Twitter!!! I talked to her for a couple of minutes before going over to my mum to squeal. A lot.

At this point I went and bought some books and things because nothing was happening. Then I met Lucy! asdfghjkl.

Because I didn't feel very well, I decided to take 20mins away from it all and not go to the "Superfans Unite" panel. I'm kinda sad about it, because it was apparently awesome, but it did mean I could chill down and rehydrate. Then I got in line for Rainbow Rowell an hour early, which I am glad about, because it meant in the same block of time I could also meet Lucy Saxon and Andy Robb (who is HILARIOUS, and also knew who I was)


After this, I went to check if I had a place in the blogging workshop. I didn't, which was sad, but I didn't dwell on it! I just decided to meet Patrick Ness instead! (well, I had a caramel shortbread first).

Patrick was really nice. I told him I was only part way through the book, and he opened it at my bookmark, read where I was and told me that was a good bit, just to tease me. (I read some more on the train home. It was a good bit.)


This took me up to about quarter to four, so I went and sat with the beanbags again (because they were ultra comfy, not going to lie) and my mum. I drank some more, because I hadn't all day. At all.

I then went to line up for Holly Bourne. I wanted to fit in Holly and Natasha Ngan in that time, so I got there early. I was second in the queue, which was nice and easy. Holly was lovely!

Then I met Natasha!!!!!!! ASDFGHJKL! I hugged her (twice, because why not) and we talked about her books, and Callum. (He was there and I saw them together and they are so cute together, ahhhhh! So my OTP.) I am so excited to read TMK, it isn't out for another three months which makes it super exciting.

That was the end of my day. After a baguette (which I was distraught about. Ham and cheese, right?! It had MAYO on it. I could sue them for that. it said nothing about mayo.) and a cookie, we got back on the train home.

HAUL! 

Between buying books and receiving books, I got quite the haul. My TBR is now out of control and I am on a book-buying-and-requesting ban until further notice...

Thank you to Jim and Debbie!
I also picked up a lot of swag. Some of it I picked up multiples, so I will be doing a giveaway soon...


I always used to have a HATE for tote bags, but I now love them! Picked up one from Hot Key and Books with Bite, as well as a Fangirl one.


Lastly, I picked up a couple of posters. One is of the Half Bad cover, and the other is this from We Were Liars (which I am yet to read, but am super excited for!)


If you have read to this point, I absolutely applaud you.

Do you remember my post about my worries? I shouldn't have had them. Everyone was LOVELY <3 

Thank you to everyone at YALC, those who made it happen, interesting people in queues, Malorie Blackman, all the authors, all the bloggers, my mother, Debbie and Jim for books... everyone! It was an absolutely amazing experience and I hope it happens again next year (just in a different venue. Without LFCC. Too hot and quite overwhelming!)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

YALC Thoughts

YALC is only a week away, and I'm very excited! So I thought I'd talk about it a bit today. 

This is probably the most excited I've been ever! Some of my very favourite authors will be there and I'm going to meet some bloggers I've been talking to for a year or more. 

But. 

It didn't really hit me till I started making plans with people. 

No one from my internet life has ever met me before. They may have seen a picture or two, but it's not the same. 

I'm very self conscious. 

On the Internet, I don't have to hide myself.

My weight. My spots. My voice. My way too opinionated nature. My social awkwardness. The way I dress. The way I will have to do my exercises every once in a while. The way I'll lag behind and my legs will kill with pain from walking. 

And the fact that people who mean the absolute world to me will see this?

It scares me.

It scares me a lot.

And it shouldn't, because I know they'll be lovely and helpful and funny. 

But it does. 

Nothing will really change from writing this, but I thought I would. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Charli Reviews: Love Letters to the Dead

It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person - any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart... it's like she can't stop. And she'd certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it's like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time - and how her family has shattered since May died.

Author: Ava Dellaira
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication: May 2014
Pages: 327
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Goodreads | Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from Hot Key Books in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my review/opinions in any way. Thank you Hot Key!

I read Love Letters to the Dead during exam week and I seriously regret it. No, I don't regret reading it, I just regret reading it right before an exam.

Because... it's one of those books that stays on your mind for a long time. In that respect (and that respect only), I'd compare it to The Book Thief.

Because... it makes you think. Laurel's history is one quite similar, yet so different to my own. And I wonder, if I'd ever have written letters, or done anything like this, what difference it would have made to me.

Because... it shows what words can do. What they can do to heal. What they can do to help. What they can do to hinder.

Because... it has gorgeous writing. Dellaira captivated me throughout the book, and it never stopped. Even when I should have been thinking about chemical formulas, I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

Because... I loved it. Many are saying it is too much like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and I guess certain elements are similar, but this book, to me, is completely unique. It's absolutely beautiful, both on the inside and out.