Tuesday, 30 April 2013

If You Find Me

Carey has been living in a camper in the middle of the woods for as long as she can remember; bringing up her little sister, Jenessa, in the shadow of her addict mother. Her mother tells her they had to run from their abusive father and the woods are the only safe place for them. When her mother is gone for longer than her normal trips away, Carey starts to worry but is certain she’ll come back. But then two strangers approach them, strangers who promise to take them away. Promise them a better life.

Written in first person narrative, Carey starts off in a southern accent but makes a conscious decision to improve her speech when she joins the rest of the world. This means that the writing style changes a few chapters in (so don’t make your mind up from a sample, as accented speech can often be a struggle to read). The two girls are well educated, but there are a lot of things that we take for granted that they have only read about and there some wonderful scenes of amazement as they become reintegrated into modern life. Yet there is also an awful lot to be scared of; from surviving high school to hiding the truth. It's also a shocking reminder of the poverty that some families live in, whatever their circumstances.

I know that Carey has had things bad in the past and deserved good to happen to her now, but really, I felt her new life was a little too good to be true. Her new mother doesn’t bat an eyelid at spending hundreds on a new wardrobe, both children score above average in their learning assessments and the whole family is incredibly patient and understanding. It is often a fault of YA that the adult characters aren’t multi-faceted; they’re either without flaws or plain evil. Delaney is a breath of fresh air in this respect, as she might seem mean but her reactions to an intruder in her life are natural.

The dark underbelly of the story is what drives it on. There are enough clues given to work out what happened to them in the woods but it’s about Carey coming to terms with it, getting to the point where she’s willing to admit and accept.

If You Find Me is published by Indigo, an imprint of Orion, and will be available from 2nd May in hardback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive

Also reviewed @ Readaraptor | Winged Reviews | Book Nerd Reviews



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Monday, 29 April 2013

The Zenn Blog-a-palooza Tour

Guest post by Christian Schoon, author of Zenn Scarlett.

So, why is the heroine of my book an exoveterinarian specializing in the treatment of big, dangerous alien animals?

This question calls for some quick background. After our house burned down along with about 300 other houses in the Southern California wildfire-onslaught of ’93, my wife and I rebuilt, and after a few years, sold out and moved from LA to Iowa, where we bought an old farmstead. I’d grown up in the Midwest, and had long fantasized about moving back and owning my own place in the country and having a few more animals (we had two dogs and two cats when we left LA).

Our new place had lots of outbuildings, 11 acres of pasture. When we went out and opened the door to the old hog shed, twenty-two pairs of eyes swiveled around to appraise us. Cats. Twenty-two of them. Startled, my wife wondered what in the world we were going to do. Well, first of all, I told her, we’ll get them spayed and neutered.

After a short search and several phone calls, we connected up with a local veterinarian who owned a mobile clinic housed in a 30-foot motor home. One day, Dr. Jenni drove into the farmyard, we started catching cats, and Dr. Jenni commenced a cat-fixing marathon. It took us two days to convince all the felines that this really was the best thing for all concerned. By the time it was over, Dr. Jenni was both our vet and our friend. Before long, we were also friends with her new husband, who turned out to be a former zoo-employee and a semi-pro herpetologist with a vast knowledge of all things reptilian.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

#Readathon - Game Over

Official hours elapsed: 24
Actual hours spent reading: 22
Hours spent sleeping: 5

Pages read: 1103
Books: Kitty Steals the Show, The Iron King, Care of Wooden Floors, The Rising
Books finished: 3

Coffee count: 5

Since last update:
Food eaten: another vegetable samosa
Pages read: 202


I've enjoyed all my readathon books at least, even if I have been obsessively clock-watching and spending too much time faffing online. It's a shame we don't have a summer one as going down to sit on the cliff tops to read would mean poor signal and therefore no temptation to go online. I'm going to go watch last night's Doctor Who now and fit in those missed 2 hours of reading this evening.

Hope you all had fun and go get some rest!

It's All Too Much

#Readathon - Hour 22

Official hours elapsed: 21
Actual hours spent reading: 19
Hours spent sleeping: 5

Pages read: 901
Books: Kitty Steals the Show, The Iron King, Care of Wooden Floors
Books finished: 2

Coffee count: 4

Since last update:
Food eaten: rice krispies square and vegetable samosa
Pages read: 154


As my current book title has 5 syllables in it, here's a haiku for the hour 20 challenge:

Care of Wooden Floors
Pay attention to the notes
Don't let cats drink wine.

Also look at the message my book is telling me. Spooky!


Hour 22 – William Shakespeare

#Readathon - Hour 19

Official hours elapsed: 18
Actual hours spent reading: 16
Hours spent sleeping: 5

Pages read: 747
Books: Kitty Steals the Show, The Iron King, Care of Wooden Floors
Books finished: 2

Coffee count: 4

Since last update:
Food eaten: possibly spiders
Pages read: 42


Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn. So the words stopped making sense and I don't think I was doing Care of Wooden Floors justice so I had a sleep. 5 hours is just enough to know I can make it through to the end of Sunday. Just. Those of you who are still going, well done!

#Readathon - The Witching Hour

Official hours spent reading: 11
Actual hours spent reading: 14
Pages read: 705
Books: Kitty Steals the Show, The Iron King
Books finished: 2

Coffee count: 3

Since last update:
Food eaten: nothing!
Pages read: 175


Last update until the morning. I'm going to start reading Care of Wooden Floors in a minute but imagine I'll be going to sleep in an hour. I will be back bright and early to carry on.


Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
Well it's midnight here, so yes I'm about ready for some sleep.

2) What have you finished reading?
Kitty Steals the Show by Carrie Vaughn and The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

3) What is your favorite read so far?
Well I've only read two books but the Kitty one was really entertaining, especially as it was a series I had nearly given up on.

4) What about your favorite snacks?
Wasabi peanut crackers!

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!
Not yet, I have a few names of new people on Twitter I have to check out once the readathon's over but I have real trouble reading blogs and having time to read, do challenges and updates. I think you just have to limit yourself or burn out.

Hour 12 - You Made It Halfway!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

#Readathon - Hour 9

Official hours spent reading: 8
Actual hours spent reading: 11
Pages read: 530
Books: Kitty Steals the Show, The Iron King
Books finished: 1

Coffee count: 3

Since last update:
Food eaten: BBQ chicken pizza and wasabi peanut crackers.
Pages read: 152


I feel like I've got the attention span of a goldfish today. Still, I've read 1.5 books, which is more than a normal Saturday but I kind of feel I should have more to show for 11 hours of reading. I know I keep putting the books down to see what's going on. Also I'm starting to get a bit tired; here's hoping I can last another 4 hours before I need to nap.

The darkness beckons...


Hour 9 – More Than 1/3 of the Way!

#Readathon - Hour 5

Official hours spent reading: 4
Actual hours spent reading: 7*
Pages read: 378
Books: Kitty Steals the Show, The Iron King
Books finished: 1

Coffee count: 2

Since last update:
Food eaten: many crudites with very yummy goats cheese and red pepper dip and a rice krispies square.
Pages read: 238


*Subtract standard 20% internet faffing time.

Have spent quite a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram, keeping up with all the #readathon activity. I'm going to try and read a bit more in the next four hours... shoo me off the interwebs if you see me. I also have done challenges! Book spine poetry cannot be ignored:

Carnage,
Dead if I don't breathe,
What comes next?
Join me where the devil can't go;
Dead man's land.


And a rather deranged self portrait for the hour 5 challenge (yes I have weird shadows on my head - it's the net curtains' fault).


Hour 5 – Get up and move it move it!

#Readathon - The Official Starting Line

So I've been reading for 3 hours already. You can see what I'm reading and eating here.

Official hours spent reading: 0
Actual hours spent reading: 3*
Pages read: 140
Books read: Kitty Steals the Show
Food eaten: toasted teacake
Coffee count: 2


*Subtract standard 20% internet faffing time.


#Readathon - T Minus 3 Hours

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is here! I am starting early (at 10am local time) so I can take some hours out in the night to sleep.

THE BOOKS


Me and Hannah said we'd read The Iron King together which probably means we'll both forget about it completely (I did miss it off my intitial Twitter photo of The Pile). Also featured are two Kitty the werewolf books because I think series are a great readathon option, especially if you're already familiar with the characters and world. Less brain effort involved. The Jasper Fforde is there because I gave out The Eyre Affair for World Book Night and realised I still hadn't read them all. The Rising; YA and the last in a trilogy, should be easy. Gallic Books have been a winner in previous readathons especially as so many of their translations are short. New Sophie Kinsella. And to be productive, there's my next book group read Care of Wooden Floors (which everyone seems to love). I may also dip in and out of my Kindle for some digital shorts and if you find me reading A Game of Thrones at some point, it's OK I've not fallen into sleep deprived delirium. I started reading it after getting sucked into the TV show, but only a few chapters a day. I reckon I already know the story so it doesn't matter if I zone out.

I won't read all of these of course. Four books seems to be the magic number for me, but I have picked a particularly easy pile.

THE SNACKS

I know, this is what you're really interested in. Please don't fall off your chairs in shock, it's really quite healthy. Carrot, cucumber and celery sticks to dip into hummus and red pepper and goat's cheese dip, wasabi peanut crackers and some random baby tomatos. I also have bananas, teacakes to toast and rice krispy squares. Never fear, I have a pizza in the fridge for dinner (and a lot of cheese should the hunger strike).

To caffeinate or not to caffeinate? That is THE question.

If you don't normally drink caffeine then it's best to leave the espressos for a last resort. On the other hand, if you're a huge addict, now is not the time to cut back; you'll only end up with a headache and feeling irritated. Not a good way to spend the readathon.

See you on the other side (or in 3 hours when it actually starts)!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Translation Challenge: Made in Japan

We're nearly 4 months into the Translation Challenge and I know I've been a bit lax with exciting extras, so I would like to propose that the month of May is Japan Month.


I'd love for all my challengees to read something Japanese in May. However, even if you're not signed up to the challenge, you can still join in. Read a book translated from Japanese or just one set in Japan. Blog about Japanese culture. Share a Japanese inspired recipe. Been on holiday there? Share your photos! And if you're from Japan, we'd love to hear from you too. It doesn't need to just be about books.

Please leave your recommendations for Japanese books in the comments (and a link to your reviews if you have them). I will do a post next week to give you some ideas and I'd like them not to all have come from me. There will also be giveaways!

If Japanese culture isn't your thing, we'll also be piggy-backing onto Paris in July to read more French literature, so keep your eyes out. If you've not got a blog but would like to contribute, please get in touch regarding guest posts as I'm happy to have you.

Please link up your Japanese themed posts and reviews below (don't forget to link up your challenge reads as well if they're translated). Feel free to use the graphic (or not) too.

The Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop

Welcome to the first Non-Fiction Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Rikki's Teleidoscope. The hop runs from 26th to 29th April with nine blogs offering up non-fiction goodies.

So what can you win here? I'm giving one winner a choice between The Violinist's Thumb by Sam Kean, which was my top non-fiction read of last year, and Time Warped by Claudia Hammond. Both are informative AND entertaining, so I hope you'll enter even if you don't usually go near non-fiction.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Follow Me Down

I don't know how it came to this, when being friends became so hard. When I was a kid, making friends was easy. On my first day of school, I shared my crayons with Mbeke and that was it, we were best friends. Now it's so complicated. We say things we don't mean, don't say things we do.

When Adamma Okomma’s family move from New York to England, she finds herself enrolled at Crofton College, a boarding school on the outskirts of nowhere. Her social life is pretty much over until she befriends the irrepressible Scarlett Chiltern who rules the roost. She soon learns that there’s more to life at Crofton than meets the eye, including parties in the woods and a whole world of secrets. When Scarlett goes missing, everyone assumes she’s just run away again, but what has really been going on behind the teachers’ backs?

But then you never truly understand the resourcefulness of teenagers until it comes to acquiring alcohol.

There’s something wonderfully indulgent about boarding school stories. Perhaps it’s the concentration of teens in one place and lack of parental supervision; the whispers behind dorm doors and the opportunities for meeting boys in the woods. Crofton College is co-ed and that means boys. Of course, Scarlett and Adamma fall for the same boy, but this is much more than just a love story. It’s a tale of secrets and half-lies, friendships and fallings out. Another fantastic book from Tanya Byrne.

"I thought you weren't going to put me in the middle, Dominic?"
"I know." he smiles slowly. "But you're already there."

Savernake Forest becomes quite a presence in the book. It’s where everyone goes to escape the confines of the college, to have fun and get drunk. But it also takes on a sinister edge when the rumours start up. The story also touches on rape culture; the reasons why some girls won’t report rapes, how others can make it into some kind of joke or blame themselves. It’s not a story overtly about rape but it deals with these issues in a way that may make the reader consider their attitude towards them.

At first, I thought the structure was a bit too similar to Heart-Shaped Bruise. The narration is split between the current day and the not too distant past, with alternating chapters finally coming together in time at the end. Yet the tone of the book made it more distinct; the characters are very different even as the story deals with teen secrets once more. It’s also rather grown up young adult, really touching on the moment where teens become adults as well as having a strong supporting adult cast. Mrs Delaney the matriarch, Mr Lucas the young teacher who can relate easier with the students, DS Bone a wonderfully approachable policeman and Adamma’s parents who may be physically absent but are definitely very present in her life.

But that's England; one day I'm wearing a sweater, the next I'm in sandals. I think that's what I love most about the English: as soon as there's a hint of sun, everyone goes outside.

This is the kind of book you’ll want to start re-reading as soon as you finish. The narrator leads you astray and the ending will have you flicking back through the story to pick up on key points at the very least. The characters are multi-faceted, all have both bad and good qualities which make them real and also allow you to doubt them. You will change your mind about the outcome so many times, I swear!

Follow Me Down is published by Headline and will be available in hardback and ebook formats from 9th May 2013. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review. Follow the conversation on Twitter with #FollowMeDown.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive

Also reviewed @ Serendipity Reviews | Sister Spooky



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Win The Long Earth

I have a spare copy of The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter to give away to one lucky winner. You can find out more about the book and read my review here. This is for the paperback edition which is due out in the UK on 9th May 2013 via Corgi. Open to European residents only and entry is via the Rafflecopter below.



Monday, 22 April 2013

The Humans

I know some of you reading this are convinced humans are a myth, but I am here to state that they do actually exist. For those that don’t know, a human is a real bipedal lifeform of mid-range intelligence, living a largely deluded existence on a small water-logged planet in a very lonely corner of the universe.

The world’s greatest mathematical puzzle has been solved by Professor Andrew Martin. The Riemann hypothesis would unlock the secrets of interstellar travel and huge medical advances. He goes missing in the night and the next day turns up wandering naked and appears to have forgotten how to act…well, human. Finding his wife and teenage son repulsive, he manages to bond with the family dog over peanut butter sandwiches and starts the task of obliterating all knowledge of the professor’s discovery.

On Earth, social networking generally involved sitting down at a non-sentient computer and typing words about needing a coffee and reading about other people needing a coffee, while forgetting to actually make a coffee.

The Humans had me genuinely laughing out loud. Our alien narrator spends the first few chapters naked (after learning the English language from Cosmopolitan magazine), and not realising that this is why people are giving him funny looks. Clothes are an odd concept; we’re the only species on the planet that wear them after all. This sets the tone for the book, the idea that an alien visiting Earth finds everything here a bit alien. Seeing the human race for the first time through his eyes is both hilarious and moving. We might have a history full of persecution and war, but we also have Emily Dickinson. And peanut butter.

Matt Haig hits the nail on the head repeatedly with many of our odd behaviour traits but he also addresses some of the serious aspects of being human. As our narrator starts to see humans differently, we see the humanity and the heart-ache. The chapter entitled “Advice for a human” (from which the quotes in the trailer come from) is a wonderfully uplifting list; one to read whenever you’re feeling down. Because being human is about ups and downs, and it makes us what we are. This is a book I can see myself returning to again and again. I love it!

The Humans is published by Canongate and will be available in hardback and ebook formats from 9th May 2013. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Incoming!

AKA Showcase Sunday

Yes, I know, I have already reviewed The Long Earth so the paperback edition will be going onto the giveaway pile shortly. Whilst The Selection was full of flaws, I kind of enjoyed it so I requested the sequel, even though I sure I'll be cursing myself if it has a similar ending. I also received a book in an alley this week and it wasn't even World Book Night! I have been meaning to read Dorothy Koomson for ages though so it was a good alley encounter (and one of her books is on the tellybox at the mo too).


For review:
The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson (Quercus)
Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow (Headline)
The GI Bride by Iris Jones Simantel (Penguin)
The Elite by Kiera Cass (HarperCollins)
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter (Transworld)

Bought:
Crossing the Line by Katie McGarry
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes



I also picked up my World Book Night books! I'm giving out The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde which looks lovely and co-ordinated with the green spines this year.


Showcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits & Tea.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Shining Girls

Everything happens for a reason. It’s because he is forced to leave that he finds the House. It is because he took the coat that he has the key.

Chicago 1931: Harper Curtis is set on a path of murder when he walks into the House. A house that calls out to him to kill the girls who shine. In 1992 Kirby Mazrachi starts an internship at the Chicago Sun-Times, shadowing the man who covered her attempted murder in 1989. Dan now works on the sports section, a subject Kirby has no interest in, but the job lets her get close to the files that could lead her to the man who tried to kill her.

It’s an interesting take on a time-slip novel; for it is not just the reader that is going back in forth in time, but a character too. Chicago’s history from 1931 to 1993 is shown through the short lives of the shining girls; their jobs, surroundings and the objects Harper takes. For a story with an element of time travel, I loved that it didn’t go into the future. There is a vintage feel to it and the 90s setting feels more natural for a newspaper investigation, reminding me of the cases where newspapers were at the forefront. The house, with its wall of shimmering objects interconnecting the murdered girls, is creepy and feels like a controlling presence.

The description of Kirby’s attack is a powerful piece of writing. Her awareness coupled with the horror, make it difficult reading but will stick with you long after. And despite everything, it is heartbreaking that her first thoughts are to the treatment of her wonderful, loyal dog. The dogs get me every time.

The Shining Girls is a genre defying novel; something we are starting to see a lot more of these days and that can only be a good thing. It is solidly crime but with an SFF element, weaving through periods in recent history as well as being a gripping thriller.

Published in the UK by HarperCollins, The Shining Girls will be available in hardback, audio and ebook formats from 25th April 2013. South Africa gets a stunning Joey HiFi cover design including a limited edition version via RandomHouse Umuzi. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Friday, 19 April 2013

The Eternity Cure

The Eternity Cure is the sequel to The Immortal Rules and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.

Allie is haunted in her sleep by her sire’s suffering. After Kanin was captured by the sadistic Sarren, Allie left Eden behind to seek him out and rescue whatever is left of him. She wasn’t welcome there; Eden is a city free of vampires, a city working towards a cure. When she finds herself following her instincts to Washington DC, she finds herself faced with an old foe and begrudgingly coming to an agreement to work together to find Kanin as well as the cure for rabidism. If it even exists.

I absolutely love this series. Whilst the world from the first book was still imprinted on my mind, I had forgotten who was who, so the recaps in the first few chapters were helpful. I am often annoyed with info-dumps but these were spread out and, well, I needed them. I was soon sucked back into Allie’s story. In The Immortal Rules, the history of rabidism was explained, monsters born out of an attempt to cure the Red Lung virus with vampire blood. Now, they are faced with a resurgence of the disease; a depleted population at risk once more.

Whilst Allie felt very isolated and lonely in the first book, this story becomes much more about family. Kanin takes on the role as a father figure and Jackal is the brother Allie wishes she never had. Yet the family unit evolves and she struggles to come to terms with the idea of losing any of them. She has left her street rat attitude behind somewhere along the way, and is allowing herself to care for others. The typical young adult relationship stuff is pushed to the side however it’s interesting to see the reverse of the normal vampire/human relationship. Usually it’s the human girl getting herself involved with a vampire, but here, it’s a human boy. There was maybe one slight bit of mushiness, but overall it’s a fantastically dark world and story.

My favourite character was, rather surprisingly, Jackal. He’s tough and sarcastic and appears to be looking out just for himself but there’s an underlying sibling rivalry to it all. It’s hard to reconcile this Jackal with his actions in the previous book. Several of the characters had moments where they went from “I must kill you” to grudging acceptance in a short space of time, although the reader is never allowed to forget any of the characters’ wrongdoings. I didn’t want him to turn out evil, even if Allie didn’t trust him.

I cannot wait for the next book! I keep telling myself I won’t read trilogies until they’re complete but this was just too tempting. The Eternity Cure is published by Harlequin TEEN in the US (30th April) in hardback and MIRA Ink in the UK (3rd May) in paperback as well as ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive

Also reviewed @ Creative Deeds Reads



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

London Book Fair

I'm back! I hope you didn't miss me too much (did you even notice I was gone?). I had a lot of people ask me if London Book Fair was worth going to as a blogger and seen others who advised against it (from past experience) so I thought I'd report back my thoughts.

You must be interested in publishing. It is a trade event and not aimed at the consumer, but that doesn't mean there's not lots of interesting things going on if you are, well, interested in the subjects. My best advice, if you're considering going next year, is to have a look at the seminar programme before you book. If nothing is of interest to you, the fair is probably not for you. Not being very organised, I missed a few things I wanted to see on Monday (and ended up finding out how very hard it is to get a job in publishing instead). Here's a list of what I made it to:

How to Promote Writers in Translation
Reading Outside the Box (with Matt Haig and Chris Priestley)
How to Get into Publishing
How to Get Ahead in Publishing
New Adults, Steamies, Crossed Genres - Reinventing Teen Fiction
The Challenges Facing Traditional Publishers (with Scott Pack)
What's in a "Best Of" List? (with Granta)
Blogging: The New Community*
Social Networking: Authors Have Their Say
The Campaign Revolution: New Models for Reaching Reader Communities

*OK I only saw about 10 minutes of this as I ran off to meet Anna Frame instead (who is lovely). I also caught the announcement of the Women's Prize shortlist despite it being invite only (they allowed lurkers on the sidelines). I wish I'd gone to a few more crossmedia things but there is so much going on (and all at the same time). I didn't make it back to the fair on Wednesday due to hangover coupled with lack of sleep (thin walls at hotel meant I got woken up at 6:30am) but I did have fun the night before at the Canongate party (where I had no idea who I was talking to for half the time).

People are there for business purposes so don't expect to be able to wander up to stands and have a chat. The big publishers were pretty much closed off unless you had a meeting. That's not to say you can't meet up with publishing people, but you will have to try and arrange things before hand (even if it's just a 10 minute coffee break between their meetings). However, this year it appeared the drinks came out after 5pm so if you hang around, it becomes a bit more social. Typically, the one time I was approached by someone on a stand with offers of help, it was moments after taking this photo:


Needless to say, I scurried off in embarrassment!

There was a sense that the event was not just for traditional publishers but also self-publishers, with a whole programme of events aimed at authors. There's plenty going on for those of you interested in the digital side too. One area I found the best for just wandering round was the translation centre. A lot of the stands were dedicated to specific countries and had a range of information on writers not yet translated as well as shelves of translated works to browse through. With the area not being quite so busy, it also felt a lot friendlier and there were plenty of seminars on translation too.

The whole thing is a little like my Twitter feed but in person. Lots of debates and discussions on publishing stuff, random fleeting chats and drinking in alleys... Oh hang on, that last one was just us! I had a hectic but great time and met some lovely people who were previously only pixels on my screen.