What’s in my YALC bag?


With YALC just a few days away, I thought I would show you what’s in my YALC bag just in case you needed some tips as to what to bring or if you were just interested.


Firstly, books (Obviously)! I separate my books into days and keep the ones for the next/previous day in my overnight bag. I’m only bringing a few books a day for ease and so that I have more room in my backpack to buy more.


Next is food and drink. Although there are places to get food in the venue it’s very expensive. And as I’d rather spend my money on books, I’ll be bringing my own food. I recommend food in packets that won’t easily melt or squish too much as it will get very warm in the venue.


I also always carry a few essentials with me. A packet of tissues, body spray, medicine, plasters, glasses cleaners, a portable charger, money (cash and card as not all venders/stalls accept card), my phone, a bookmark (in case you start reading any of the brilliant books you buy) and tote bags. Although publishers do give out tote bags, I find it handy to have some with me anyway. I also like to have a tote bag with my blog and twitter name on so that if any of you see me, you can come and say hi without wondering if it is me or not.


Last but not least, I carry with me the paperwork I need for the weekend; my tickets and the schedules so I know what events are on and when. I also bring a notepad (with my plan for the weekend) and a pen.

All of this will be put in my big, sturdy backpack so that the weight is evenly spread out across my back and shoulders.

So, that’s what is in my YALC bag. What are your YALC essentials for the weekend? Let me know in the comments.




Waterstones event with Lisa Heathfield

LHEOn Saturday 15th July I went to my local Waterstones for a talk and signing with YA author Lisa Heathfield who has written the books Seed, Paper Butterflies and Flight of a Starling. Here is my round up of the event.


Lisa talked to us about her books, her writing methods and her writing tips. Lisa told us that whilst she writes by hand, she doesn’t plot out her books. She very kindly showed us the notepad of her draft of Seed which was magnificent. I’ve never seen a notebook so neatly written in with so few crossings out or additions in the side of the page. My notepads are usually a mess.

Lisa also gave us some wonderful tips for aspiring writers and then kindly signed our books. I already own a copy of Seed but whilst I was there I also brought Paper Butterflies and Flight of a Sterling. I am very ready to cry when I read these. I have tissues ready.

This was my first author event that isn’t YALC and it was so good. It may have been small but the personal feel was lovely. Thanks again to Lisa Heathfield and to Portsmouth Watersones for organising the event.

Have you been to any non-YALC author events? Let me know in the comments – I’d love to hear about it.


Beautiful Broken Things – Review


BBTBest friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realizes, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard is a heart-breaking book that explores deep female friendships in a honest way.

I really liked this book a lot; the plot, the characters and their relationships were brilliant and formed really well. Sometimes I found it difficult to read their arguments between the friends as they felt a bit over-the-top however I could see the importance in the plot. To be fair though, I bet if you wrote my arguments down they would be very dramatic too. 😛 I loved the fact that the girls could still remain close friends despite these fall-outs. It made me glad of my own friendship groups’ bond and banter.

Caddy is such a sympathetic character, you can feel her pain as she tries to navigate the complications of teenage friendships, self-expectations and unexpected chapters. Her relationship with both her friends and family are brilliantly developed, especially her riffs with her parents which felt so real. It’s definitely something that teens can resonate with.

This book has such a bitter sweet ending which was beautiful and sad. I cried. I cried so much. Sara Barnard, why did you have to break my heart?!?!

Overall, Beautiful Broken Things is a beautiful, eye-opening contemporary book that is seriously outstanding. I absolutely loved this book, and it certainty lived up to my expectations. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves YA.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

18 things repost : July 10th 2016 #YALCchat roundup

Last year @ReadDreamLive13 decided to create a Twitter chat called #YALCchat for those going to YALC at the end of July to chat about fears, tips and what they’re looking forward to. On my old blog (18 Things Before) I decided to summarise the tips and hints that were shared during the chat. Here is the post from that blog again as a reminder before the next chat Friday 7th July 2017 at 8pm UK time.


Me at YALC 2015

1) Chat with those in the queue
@yalc_uk said “It really is one of my favourite things about the event. Love seeing people make new friends in queues! #YALCchat”
@ReadDreamLive13 said “the queues do seem the perfect place to meet people #YalcChat
Don’t be afraid to chat to those in the queue or even to ask them to take a picture of you getting your book signed.


2) Book signings
A big query is what happens with book signings – do we have to get a ticket or just queue?
Well the answer is – it depends as @yalc_uk explains
“In most cases, just turn up and join the queue. If queues are long, we may introduce virtual queuing (1/2) #YALCchat”
“This works like a deli counter – you get a numbered ticket and come back when your number is called (2/2) #YALCchat”

Also don’t worry because as @iloveheartlandX says “The authors are really nice, not scary at all, honestly! #YalcChat”

3) Purchasing books
There are many stalls selling books. There will be a Waterstones stall selling many of the books especially for authors who are signing. There are also many publisher stalls who as @yalc_uk says “our publishers love the chance to chat with readers”. Last year they were really friendly and they are great at recommending books to make your TBR even bigger. Some of them also had special deals and competitions running throughout the weekend so don’t forget to check them out.
Remember to take cash! I can’t stress that enough and neither could @yalc_uk who said “…Lots of stands (including our #YALC merchandise) are cash only so make sure you come ready #YALCchat”

4) What to wear
A general consensus from the chat was to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet most of the day.
In terms of clothes, some people like to cosplay and feel free to if you’d like. Many people will be doing it so you won’t be alone.
(With regards to cosplay, make sure it fits. You don’t want to be spending your day trying to fix it when you could be doing something else.)
You could also just wear a fandom t-shirt. I’m probably just going to wear a Hogwarts one. Overall though, just wear what you feel comfortable in as @yalc_uk said “Wear whatever you like and feel comfortable in. We love #cosplay, but don’t feel any pressure if it’s not for you! #YALCchat” Remember though, it gets very hot in the venue so bear that in mind when choosing what to wear.

5) Food and Drink
My advice would be to bring food and drink. You will get hungry and thirsty and you won’t want to pay venue prices or wait in their queues. @AddyPNewton agrees and said “Defs bring your own food and drink. Venue f&d is expensive, tho there is a handy Tescos across the road #YalcChat”

6) Other tips and hints
@AnnaliseBooks said “Take cash, expect to buy books! Get there early and check out the rest of the show at some point! #YalcChat”
You are definetly going to struggle if you’re on a book buying ban and you will break it. And I completely agree, LFCC was great last year and had amazing merchandise on sale so you won’t want to miss out.

Have some restraint. You will want to buy everything. So my advice would be to follow @ChloeSeager1 ‘s words of wisdom “It’s my first #YALC but think I’ll bring enough £ to buy a good no. of books, but not so much I can’t afford to eat through August #yalcchat”

Keep your water away from your books. A lesson many have had to learn including @iloveheartlandX “Yup. Lesson learned, keep your water bottle far, far, far away from your books. #YalcChat

Bring a well charged camera or phone. You are going to want to take loads of pictures. If you’re lucky enough, you might get one with your favourite author.

If you’re unsure about carrying all your books, don’t fret. There are many stragegies to help. Either have lots of totes or have a large rucksack or suitcase. The lovely @yalc_uk also reminded us “For those of you who want to bring/buy lots of books, remember we have #YALC cloakroom facilities where you can put bags #YALCchat” The cloakroom does have a small cost at around £1 a small item and £2 a large item.
Or you could just move closer just like @AnnaliseBooks is planning to do “Also planning on moving closer next year so can actually get them all signed! #YalcChat”

Finally, have fun, it’s the most important thing.

If you have any more questions feel free to comment below and I will do my best to respond or tweet @yalc_uk.

Note: I have edited this post slightly so that any dates mentioned are up-to-date


yalc tbr

This year will be my third year going to YALC and I’m even more excited this year than before. This year I have my blog, I’m now free from A levels (Whoop!) and I am going for two days so plan to squish as much in as possible.

Now I’ve finished college and my exams, I am finally able to start my YALC TBR which was waayyy larger than it is now. I’ve had to narrow it down at it seemed unrealistic and even if I could have read them, it would have made deciding which few I can take with me much harder.


First off on my YALC TBR, is Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard. I’ve heard so many good things about this book, I am so excited to finally read it. I ran a poll on my twitter (@butterflybourne) and this book was the one you guys decided I should read first.

Next is Rebellion by Josephine Boyce which has been on my TBR since I brought it at last years YALC (oops). It means I’ve been anticipating this read for almost a whole year.

Also on my list is The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (the perfect sounding book for someone obsessed with reading and maths); The Graces by Laure Eve and Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor.

So that’s my YALC TBR. Comment below if you’re going to be attending YALC this year, I’d love to know. And if so, which book is at the top of your YALC TBR?

18 things repost – Girl Detached

Note: This is a repost of my original post from my old site 18 things before.

Girl Detached by Manuela Salvicover2

Aleksandra has issues with her voice. Stress makes her stutter, and her life is one of stress. She can only speak clearly on stage, freed by the words of the character she plays. Then, when Aleksandra befriends her new neighbour Megan, and through her meets charming, handsome Ruben, it seems she has discovered a doorway into a different world, and a different Alek. But Ruben wants Aleksandra to play a particular role for him, and it is one that will come close to destroying her.

At first I was unsure what to expect with Girl Detached after being told it was about prostitution as I’ve never read anything like it before. I was also very intrigued after being told it had been banned in Italy. This hooked me almost right away and I hadn’t even read a word!

We meet the voice of the story – Aleksandra – and straight away are told her story and begin to develop a liking for her. As a vulnerable young woman buried in confusion and loneliness she captivates the reader to want to protect her through the pages. It was uncomfortable to think that Aleksandra and I are virtually the same age, yet she has gone through this horrible experience.

As the story progresses we see the way Aleksandra and the world of prostitution entwine and slowly destroy her life bit by bit. It was heart wrenching to see her get obliviously closer and closer to danger. A lot of times, I found myself wanting to scream at the book to warn her and to give her some advice.  Her shielded upbringing meant she was blinded from things many might assume as obvious.

It was eye-opening to see a world we only hear about the way the media wants us too. Having read this, I realise that I have myself been shielded (or possibly censored) from the nitty, gritty truths about women in prostitution. It was shocking and at times difficult to read but it was an important read. I want to applaud the author Manuela Salvi for overcoming the (in my opinion) idiotic censorship of this novel to bring its important and eye-opening story to those everywhere. This book is astonishing and I encourage everyone to read it. Let your mind be opened by this gritty, honest read.

Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to be given this book as a proof at YALC for free however that has had no effect on my opinion.

The Auctor Trilogy Review


When seventeen-year-old Addie Auctor’s mother is murdered by her father, she must confront many secrets that her family has hidden from her. The worst of these secrets is that Addie’s father, Donovan Hawthorne, is still hunting Addie because of an ancient blood feud between her mother’s family, the Auctors, and her father’s family, the House of Hawthorne. In order to be protected from the House of Hawthorne, Addie and her brother, Augustus, are sent to Initiation at an exclusive University, the Wicked Cabal.
Initiation is nothing like Addie expects. She is immediately separated from Augustus and thrown in with four complete strangers – Fallon, Maddox, Liam, and Tempe. Addie must try to forge friendships with her fellow Initiates while they solve clues, battle mystical creatures, and explore increasingly dangerous places.

After Addie’s mum dies, she’s thrown into an unknown world full of magic, monsters and secrets. She’s forced to go through a school initiation with a group of strangers whilst not being told anything, except that her father wants her dead.

I thought Addie was very brave jumping straight into this world without any information other than that her father has killed her mother. I wouldn’t have had that much trust to let anyone take me straight into an unknown world. I thought this was a tad unrealistic but who knows what we’d do in those circumstances and if our lives were under supposed threat. It was a good plot device though, as it meant we as readers didn’t know why things were happening either.

I loved Addie so much. I don’t think I’ve loved many characters more than I love Addie. I honestly thought about her and her life for days after finishing this book. It was all I could think about. As for the other characters, I couldn’t stand Addie’s brother Augustus. I thought he was horrible and controlling over Addie. It infuriated me so much. And the twist with Fallon – wow! I wasn’t expecting that. I also loved Addie’s friendship with Tempe, it felt so genuine.

I liked the inclusion of the flash back to Constance, it made me have so many questions. I still do, so I can’t wait for the next one. The challenges they faced were shocking and brutal for a school initiation but I loved how they faced them head-on with determination. Plus, there was a dragon. In my opinion, you can’t beat dragons (even if they’re evil). This book was brilliantly written and had me so gripped that I read this book in a matter of days (which for me in exam season, is an achievement). I would 10/10 recommend.

If this has interested you, I would totally recommend that you go buy a copy here.

If you’ve read this book before, let me know what you thought in the comments – I’d love to know.

Note: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.