Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Book review: The Secrets of the Wild Wood by Tonke Dragt



One of my all-time favourite Dutch children's books is De brief aan de koning by Tonke Dragt, and I was thrilled when decades after the original release this much-treasured classic finally received a deserving English language debut with The Letter for the King in 2014, thanks to Pushkin Press in the UK and a beautiful translation by Laura Watkinson. So you can imagine my excitement when the sequel, Secrets of the Wild Wood (originally Geheimen van het Wilde Woud) received an English release this year as well (also translated by Watkinson). Dark and more mature than its precedent, this book continues to capture the magic and adventurous spirit I've come to know and love from Tonke Dragt's imaginative world.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Book review: The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon



After Look At Me by Sarah Duguid and The Widow by Fiona Barton (review to follow), The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon is the third 2016 debut I've already read and if these novels are anything to go by it's going to be an absolutely stellar year for new book discoveries, as each one was excellent in its own right.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Book review: A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin



Serials are nothing new, after all Charles Dickens was a master of them, but in the digital age they've only quite recently made a spectacular comeback and especially in the commercial women's fiction genre it's working really well. Novels from the likes of Cathy Bramley and Lisa Dickenson come out first in staggered digital parts before being published in full as a paperback. It's genius, because readers will initially buy the books digitally, eagerly anticipating each new instalment, and they will also purchase the full paperback to have a beautiful copy on their bookshelves to cherish.

While I love the idea of serials, once I start reading I wouldn't have the patience to wait for a next instalment (I'm far too curious!) and rather read it all in one go. This means I do have to wait for the full paperback release and I had to really put my patience to the test when Novelicous' Cress McLaughlin's Primrose Terrace was published in four digital parts. In November the full book was finally released and I of course read it straight away. It was an absolute joy and well worth waiting for!

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Bloggers Hangout Christmas Food Fest



Moving a little more into lifestyle blogging I discovered the excellent The Bloggers Hangout a few months ago and I was thrilled when the invite to their Christmas Food Fest popped into my inbox. I always love discovering new brands and food is a particular passion of mine, so this was right up my alley. The event was held in a funky space in the East of London and I really enjoyed chatting to the passionate people behind all these wonderful products, and I'd like to share some of my favourite new discoveries below.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Breakfast at Richmond Tea Rooms in Manchester



When I went to Manchester for the first time a few months ago I was looking online for a place to have a nice sit-down breakfast with friends on a Sunday morning and I happened upon the Richmond Tea Rooms, which had on its menu things such as Eggs Benedict and a Maple Syrup & Bacon Pancake Stack, all for under £8 – I was sold!

What I didn't expect was how stunning the tea rooms would be; the inside is like stepping into a fairytale book, with brightly coloured mismatched furniture, beautiful vintage details, garland running across private nooks with lush velvet curtains and fluffy pillows, and wacky Alice in Wonderland themed elements hidden throughout.

So when I went back to Manchester last weekend we of course had to make a return and this time around I took some photos so you can all enjoy the gorgeousness that is the Richmond Tea Rooms.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

A look inside the stunning edition of Peter Pan illustrated by Minalima



December is of course the month for of eating chocolates for breakfast and visiting Christmas markets, but not only that, in the lead up to the holidays brands often have special 12 days of Christmas or advent calendar-themed offers and giveaways too. It has been a particular bumper year for that as many fabulous publishers and bloggers I follow on social media ran competitions every single day and I've been extremely lucky winning giveaways from Shaz's Book Boudoir (The Harry Potter Colouring Book), Laura's Little Book Blog (A Snow Garden by Rachel Joyce + Christmas Colouring Books), Quercus (Asking For It by Louise O'Neill) and Harper360 (a creative book bundle, including fiction treats).

While I am super excited to read/enjoy all of these (I wouldn't have entered if not!), it is the stunningly illustrated hardback edition of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie and published by HarperCollins I have particularly fallen in love with and I wanted to share some snapshots from inside this gorgeous book with you all. This is one of my favourite classics anyway, but this beautifully illustrated edition by Minalima (graphic designers that worked on Harry Potter) has made me fall in love with it even more. Not only is it filled with gorgeous, eye-poppingly bright drawings, but there are many interactive elements as well, including fold-outs, and my copy even came with a signed poster of Neverland!

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Christmas in London: The best of the South Bank festive markets



There are many iconic things to do in London at Christmas time, including ice skating at the Natural History Museum and Somerset House, a trip down to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, a visit to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas and admiring the festive window displays on Oxford Street.

One of the areas in London that easily get overlooked, though it's just a short walk away from the West End, is the South Bank. This year is a particular cracker with not only the South Bank Winter Market being bigger than ever before, but also the additions of the London Bridge Christmas Market and the Christmas Market at the Tate Modern.

So let me take you on a stroll along the Thames' South Bank, pointing out some great spots for food and retail shopping this festive season!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Penguin Random House (Vlogger) Christmas Party



At Bloggeration's Book Blogging Workshop last month I had the pleasure of meeting Stephenie from the Penguin Random House team and not only did she answer our my many questions about the publishing industry at the workshop, she even invited the bloggers there to the Penguin Christmas Party, which was a fab bonus! I went to their offices on the Strand last December for the Penguin Women's Fiction Evening and I was delighted to make a return a year later to meet other members of the team and some of their amazing authors (including the one and only Sophie Kinsella!).

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Book review: Look at Me by Sarah Duguid



There are already some 2016 releases that are dominating the book chatter on my social media timelines, including The Widow by Fiona Barton, Shtum by Jem Lester, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon and Look at Me by Sarah Duguid. There is an incredible buzz around these titles thanks to the fantastic publicists behind them and I am thrilled to have early copies in my possession to review in the next few months.

The first one to make its way to the top of my to-read pile was Look at Me, a subtly unsettling tale of a family absorbed by grief and the collapse of their lives as seen through the eyes of an unexpected stranger forcing her way into their home.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Top 5 real-life Marilyn Monroe videos by author Lucy Holliday



After A Night in With Audrey Hepburn, Lucy Holliday's second novel was released last week which has another iconic stage star in the title: Marilyn Monroe. In the follow-up to her debut, protagonist Libby is torn between the men in her life and she realises taking advice from a Hollywood star might not be the best way to make the big decisions in her life.

To celebrate the release of A Night in With Marilyn Monroe, I'm excited to share with you Lucy's top 5 real-life Marilyn Monroe videos as part of the blog tour!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Ultimate List of Adult Colouring Books to Gift at Christmas



Not to brag, but as a kid I was pretty kick-ass at colouring in. I won a lot of competitions and after reading it was my favourite past-time.

However, like most people I stopped colouring when I hit my mid-teens and I hadn't picked up a pencil for more than sprucing up a birthday card or gift tag in over a decade when adult colouring books popped up in the shops. I was instantly drawn to the gorgeous illustrations from Johanna Basford and Daria Song, and there have been a wealth of exciting releases since, from geekish outlets such as Harry Potter and Doctor Who, to established brand such as Penguin Books and Liberty London getting in on the action.

For this Christmas (or any gifting occasion, really), I have created the ultimate list of adult colouring books that will appeal to both men and women of a range of ages and will make great presents for friends, family and yourself!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Alice in Wonderland 150th anniversary exhibition at the British Library



Alice in Wonderland is one of my all-time favourite stories and I love its many incarnations, from the Disney cartoon right through to the immersive theatrical experience of Alice's Adventures Underground, which I had the pleasure of experiencing a few months ago (followed by the Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at Sanderson London, it was a fab Alice-themed day!). And so when I heard about the new exhibition at the British Library celebrating 150 years since the first publication of the classic novel – which showcases the original handwritten and illustrated manuscript by Lewis Carroll at its centre – I knew I had to make a trip down there as soon as possible!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Easy DIY Christmas Stocking Tutorial



At the lifestyle and craft-themed Bloggeration workshop back in October, the lovely Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret did not only show us how to make super fun Halloween bunting (which you can totally turnaround for a more festive feel too!) but she also helped us make cute Christmas stockings, for which we used the most adorable Zazzle fabrics and ribbon. I'm not very handy with a needle and thread, but even I managed! I'm sharing the tutorial below so you too can make your own little, decorative stocking for yourself or to give as a present (it makes for unique package of small gifts as well).

Monday, 30 November 2015

Dressed by Angels exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane



Angels is a household costumiers in London, having supplied costumes for iconic stage, television and cinema productions as far back as the 1800s. While I knew the family company by name, I wasn't very familiar with their history or the sheer amount of incredible films and theatre shows their costumes can be seen in. Did you know that they have worked on an astonishing 36 movies that ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Costume Design? 11 of those were in the 21st century alone!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Black Friday sale at one of my favourite brands: Jewellerybox



I realise I have mentioned Jewellerybox quite a bit recently! I am not working with them in a sponsored capacity or anything like that, I just genuinely adore the brand and the amazing range of products they offer. For years I've been on the look-out for affordable, dainty sterling silver jewellery and while I've occasionally splurged on Etsy and at Oliver Bonas, none of them come even close to the incredible price and quality ratio from Jewellerybox. And so when they told me about their Black Friday sale on tomorrow, I wanted to share a little blog post about this to let as many people know about it as possible – 'cause it's a good one!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Book review: Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray



Last October I read one of my favourite reads of 2015 and one of the best young adult novels ever, the stunning A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray; an incredibly rich and highly imaginative concept that single-handedly elevated the sci-fi genre within YA. I was absolutely mesmerised by this read and so impressed by the intricate details sprinkled throughout that made it so very excellent, and I was thrilled when exactly one year on from discovering this amazing novel I was given the privilege to read an advanced copy of the equally brilliant sequel, Ten Thousand Skies Above You.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Top Picks From the Transworld January-June 2016 Catalogue



As the year draws to a close it announces a bumper period for showcases, where publishers present some of their most anticipated upcoming releases to the media and bloggers. After the Walker Books showcase last month, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Transworld one this month and I'm delighted to share my top picks from their January-June 2016 catalogue below.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Winter Wonderland at Jewellerybox's Pop-Up Shop



Ever since I discovered the wonderful Jewellerybox at the Big Blogger Conference, I've been in love with their products. And even though I splurged on lots of new sterling silver pieces when I went to their pop-up in Brixton (multiple necklaces, earrings and a bracelet), I've been eyeing their website since my last visit and on Saturday I had the opportunity to look at all the gorgeous jewellery in person once more, this time at their pop-up shop on Brick Lane.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Book review: The Road to Rangoon by Lucy Cruickshanks



I am sure I'm not alone when I say I have my preferred genres I tend to stay within rather than pushing the boundaries and trying something entirely different. After all, there are far too many books in the world to ever have the opportunity to read them all and I don't want to waste trivial time on those I might not enjoy. Yet this reasoning risks missing out on some real gems as my discovery of The Trader of Saigon by Lucy Cruickshanks in 2013 showed. I generally avoid historical fiction, particularly if the story is centred on a faraway war, yet this caught my attention and I am so glad it did as it was an engrossing and atmospheric read that completely pulled me in, while at the same time being educational about post-war Vietnam.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bloggeration Book Blogging Workshop With Penguin


When Sarah from The Prosecco Diaries mentioned during her session at The Big Blogger Conference that she was organising a book blogging workshop with Penguin, I was instantly interested as I hadn't come across a workshop yet specifically for book bloggers and Penguin is one of my favourite publishers (I've always not so secretly wanted to work there and having the opportunity to visit the offices last December for the Annual Women's Fiction Evening, was one of the highlights of my year!).

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

9 Reasons Why Autumn is My Favourite Season!



The changing of the seasons is one of the most magical natural wonders and as sunny summer moves into chilly autumn, I find it particular poignant. At this time of year I always feel more than ready for the cosy colder months to come around as breathing in the crisp autumnal air has a rejuvenated effect. While I am also very fond of pure white snowy landscapes and sparkling icy features, it's the gorgeous smells and vivid colours – not to mention the first opportunity to get back into my comfy jumpers – that makes autumn my absolute favourite time of the year. There are many reasons why this is clearly the best season and I have listed some of them below, illustrated with autumnal pictures I took during a recent walk on beautiful Hampstead Heath here in London.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Book review: When I Was Me by Hilary Freeman



Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling disorientated, not entirely sure where you are? I can't be the only one who has had this happen, especially when awakening from a very intense dream or when on holiday and the bed is positioned at a different angle than I'm used to. It usually only takes a few seconds – a minute at most – to regain my bearings and remember where I am. But what if minutes turn into hours and you're still not sure about your surroundings? What if everything if just slightly different from what you are used to; your bedroom is decorated differently and your mum's hair has changed colour overnight?

Monday, 16 November 2015

5 things you might not know about Cathy Bramley's Conditional Love



Cathy is not only a wonderful author, but she is such an inspiration too (and lovely to boot!). She self-published delightful novel Conditional Love back in 2013 and on the back of it landed a publishing deal with Transworld. They have since released her novels Ivy Lane and Appleby Farm (first in four digital parts before the full paperbacks were released) and another one, Wickham Hall, is set for publication in early 2016.

To tide her fans over in the mean time, Transworld has released a brand spankin' new version of Conditional Love this month, which I've been told is even better than before! And I am super stoked to be part of the blog tour for the novel today, celebrating its publication with Cathy's list of five things you might not know about Conditional Love yet.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Book review: A Girl's Best Friend by Lindsey Kelk


My edition: Paperback, published on 5 November 2015 by HarperCollins, 382 pages.

Description: First Tess was a girl with a plan.

Then she was a girl with a dream.

Now she’s a girl who’s come back to earth with a bump.

When the opportunity arises to join her best friend, Amy, in New York for Christmas, Tess jumps at the chance. The only fly in ointment is that Nick, the man who broke her heart, lives there.

And Charlie, the man she turned down, has just started talking to her again. And she has just four days to take a photo for a competition that could save her career.

But aside from that, everything is going to be great: it’ll be the best Christmas ever. Won’t it?

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Winter Wedding Q&A with author Abby Clements



I love, love, love the novels by Abby Clements ever since I read the suitably festive Meet Me Under the Mistletoe back in 2012 and so I'm super excited that not only her new book, The Winter Weddding, was released last week (which has sneaked its way right to the top of my to-read pile), but also that I had the opportunity to interview Abby to coincide with the publication of her new book! Read on to learn all about her favourite part of the writing journey, the wedding-cake-eating research she did for her new novel and why she loved Iona Grey’s Letters to the Lost and Dinah Jefferies’ The Tea Planter’s Wife so much.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Xanadu at the Southwark Playhouse



The Southwark Playhouse really is a gem of a London theatre. Just a short tube journey away from the hustle and bustle of the West End it is a far more affordable performing space that doesn't know the meaning of restricted view or view from the gods. I admit that I have not loved everything I have seen here, but for a mere £12 for a preview ticket to a show this is likely because it's so affordable and I've taken more of a risk (I wouldn't spend £££ on a West End show unless I am 99 per cent certain I'll enjoy it and even then I'm reluctant to part with that much of my hard-earned cash). Recent gems I've seen at the Southwark Playhouse include Carrie and Grand Hotel, as well as the spectacular In the Heights transfer at the King's Cross Theatre – so how does their latest venture, a stage version of film flop Xanadu compare?

Friday, 6 November 2015

Hairspray UK Tour at the New Wimbledon Theatre



The cast of Hairspray©Ellie Kurttz

I love the New Wimbledon Theatre, even though the UK tours I have seen there in recent years have often been hit (Avenue Q, Barnum, Anything Goes) or miss (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 20th Century Boy, and an Agatha Cristie murder mystery I don't even remember the name of...), and so it's always guess work what the next show will bring. Thankfully, this touring production of Hairspray is very much a hit as it swings the New Wimbledon Theatre right back into the sixties; outrageously big hair, dubious fashion sense, and all.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Guest post: Author Lindsey Kelk's Top 5 Christmas Traditions



Lindsey Kelk©Philippa Gedge 2015

Today I am super duper excited to be kicking off the blog tour for the latest gigglefest from one of my favourite authors ever: Lindsey Kelk!

You're probably familiar with Lindsey's incredibly popular I Heart... series, and in recent years she's started to branch out from Angela, Alex and Jenny Lopez to write novels about a whole new cast of characters, including the stand-alone Always the Bridesmaid and the AMAZING About a Girl series (which, even though it was very hard to achieve, is even more fabulous than the I Heart... books are). And after the second part in that series, What a Girl Wants, was released in 2014, we're back with Tess and the gang for A Girl's Best Friend this Christmas!

Will the book persuade me to move from #TeamNick to #TeamCharlie? I've started reading it this morning and am still all heart-shaped eyes over Nick, but we'll see if this changes over the course of the third novel...

To celebrate the release of A Girl's Best Friend this week (Thursday, 5 November you guys – better get to the shops quick in the morning or pre-order your copy now!) Lindsey has written a host of guest posts for the blog tour, which will be sprinkled among reviews and other festive content for the book. She stopped by Page to Stage Reviews with her Christmas top 5, which I'm delighted to share with you below.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Book review: After You by Jojo Moyes


My edition: Hardcover, published on 24 September 2015 by Michael Joseph, 416 pages.

Description: Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home. Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life. What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions? Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe. Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in...

Rating:

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Theatre review: Les Misérables at the Queens Theatre



I saw Les Misérables a few years ago and as a musical theatre lover I assumed that I would adore this classic, which had been running on the West End for decades already and didn't seem ready to leave any time soon. I was wrong. Knowing little about the story before entering the auditorium and sat in the previous to last row in the upper circle of the theatre with a non-stop talking French couple just behind us (who clearly didn't know the meaning of the death stare in an otherwise quiet theatre and the occasional 'ssshhhh' directed at them), it was hard to follow the story, keep the characters apart, and generally stay awake for its nearly three hour long duration.

There are other classic musicals I didn't enjoy (The Phantom of the Opera and Cats, for example) and I put Les Mis in that same category of 'just not for me'. Fast-forward a few years to 2012, and an all-star movie adaptation hits the big screen. I gave the story one last try and I instantly fell head over heels in love with everything; from the characters and incredible music to, yes, Aaron Tveit (hot damn, Enroljas!). I ended up seeing the film in cinema twice (once in Imax, which was insanely immersive) and more times than I can count at home. Needless to say I was super keen to watch the stage version again and I recently got that opportunity...

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Easy DIY Halloween Bunting Tutorial



Do you need last-minute ghoulish inspiration to Halloweenify your house/bed room/work desk? Then look no further than this super easy bunting tutorial, which in this case has been used for some spooky inspiration for All Hallows' Eve, but can of course quite easily be turned around to fit any other occasion; from Christmas to Autumn and birthdays to just generally wanting to brighten up your home.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bloggeration Lifestyle and Craft Workshops



At The Big Blogger Conference in August I had the privilege to listen to an inspiring presentation by blogger Sarah from The Prosecco Diaries and when she mentioned that she would be holding a book blogging workshop soon herself, I of course requested to be kept up-to-date – as that is right up my street. It turned out the book blogging event was only one in a series of exciting workshops Sarah is organising this autumn and I signed up for the first one, which was focused on lifestyle blogging and craft. Kind of perfect as I am trying to expand my blogging currently to become more lifestyle focused and I've been itching to try my hand at some new crafty projects!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Book review: A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson


My edition: Paperback, published on 24 September 2015 by Pan Macmillan, 501 pages.

Description: Anna Browne is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Her day job as a receptionist in bustling London isn't exactly her dream, yet she has everything she wants. But someone thinks Anna Browne deserves more...

When a parcel addressed to Anna Browne arrives, she has no idea who has sent it. Inside she finds a beautiful gift - one that is designed to be seen. And so begins a series of incredible deliveries, each one bringing Anna further out of the shadows and encouraging her to become the woman she was destined to be. As Anna grows in confidence, others begin to notice her - and her life starts to change.

But who is sending the mysterious gifts, and why?

Rating:

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Book review: Pippa's Cornish Dream by Debbie Johnson


My edition: Paperback, published on 2 July 2015 by HarperImpulse, 208 pages.

Description: Since Pippa Harte was forced to take over her parent’s farm, she’s barely had time to shave her legs let alone make time for love. Now she’s more likely to be getting down and dirty mucking out the pigs – and avoiding those of the human male variety.

When Ben Retallick walks out of her childhood and back into her present it seems that perhaps Pippa has more time than she thought. All Poldark smoulders and easy-going charm, Ben’s definitely worth whipping her wellies off for!

But Ben is a man with his own past and his own issues – and as much as she’s enjoying having him around, she’s got to get a grip. After all life isn’t always a beach … even if you are in Cornwall.

Rating:

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Book review: One by Sarah Crossan


My edition: Hardback, published on 27 August 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's Books, 428 pages.

Description: Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty.

Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart.

One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

Rating:

Monday, 19 October 2015

Theatre review: Close to You – Bacharach Reimagined



The cast of Close to You. ©Johan Persson

I don't often give 5 star reviews to theatre productions yet I have seen two shows in the past week that deserve the highest possible rating I can give them because they're so incredible: In the Heights and Close to You. Long-runner The 39 Steps couldn't have made way at the Criterion Theatre for a more beautiful and mesmerising production than the Bacharach Reimagined transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Theatre review: In the Heights at King's Cross Theatre



©Johan Persson

There are so many shows opening in London every month, that even though I usually go to the theatre several times a week I unfortunately still am not able to see every single new production gracing the boards on and off West End. This means I have to be very strict in what I book ahead and only go for theatre outings I am 90% sure I'll enjoy.

When In the Heights opened at Southwark Playhouse (Carrie, Grand Hotel) last year I wasn't so sure about it as I thought it would be all hip hop all the time, not my preferred music genre by any means. And when I finally realised that there was far more to this musical – and critics started raving about it too – it was of course completely sold out. To say I was gutted to miss what was arguably the most surprising hit of the season would be an understatement, but I was thrilled when it was announced that this well-received show was making a much-needed return to London, this time around to the King's Cross Theatre (home to The Railway Children) – I made sure not to miss it again.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Walker Books January–June 2016 Showcase



On Saturday I ventured over to Vauxhall to visit Walker Books headquarters for a Regency themed tea and a showcase of some of their exciting teen and middle grade titles set for release January–June 2016.

I've visited a wealth of publishing houses for events over the years, but had not been to Walker Books towers before and I am really grateful to Laura for the invite to be her plus one as we had a lovely morning. We were welcomed with tea in dainty little cups and pastries, before heading to the main room for the presentations.

The first part of the morning there was a reading from Alison Goodman (The Dark Days Club sounds like an interesting mix of an elegant regency setting and demonical fantasy elements, kind of a like a cool Buffy and Jane Eyre mash-up), we learned ALL about the ingenious pitching process from the Walker Books team when they were trying to buy Goldfish from Nat Luurtsema (it involved swimming caps, a goldfish and a whistle. Like I said, ingenious), followed by a stonkingly hilarious reading by Nat from her upcoming novel – it sounds SO good!

After tea and scones, author Richard Kurti took the stage to read from his new dystopian novel, Maladapted, which sounds terrifying and intriguing in equal measures. Then it was time for the Walker Books team to introduce some more upcoming novels, particular highlights included the paperback launch of Patrick Ness' The Rest of Us Just Live Here (I am desperate to read this!), a super funny presentation about Anthony Horowitz's The Diamond Brothers, which is getting a re-issue (I loved these books growing up), and Lindsey Eager's Hour of the Bees, which not only wins the prize for the most beautiful cover of the showcase (and there was a proof in the goodie bag, aaaaahhhh!) but the story sounds like a wondrously magical coming-of-age novel too and I absolutely cannot wait to dig in.

Finally, it was time for a mingle and chinwag with the Walker Books team, the authors present and fellow book lovers (while enjoying some tasty sandwiches to boot) before we sadly had to head home again – though not before leaving the building with a goodie bag filled to the brim with books and sweets (pictured below). Thanks so much to Walker Books team and their lovely authors for organising such an ace event blogger event!



Alison Goodman reads from The Dark Days Club


All about the pitch for Goldfish! Spot some of the accessories on the screen...


Nat Luurtsema reads from Goldfish


Richard Kurti reads from Maladapted


Goodie bag part 1: The Hour of the Bees, aaaahhh!


Goodie bag part 2: A STUNNING proof of The Dark Days Club


Goodie bag part 3: Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martin Bedford and Maladapted – other than Goldfish and The Rest of Us Just Live Here, the four titles we received were the ones I was most keen to check out! Well played, Walker Books, well played.