Tuesday 21 April 2015


Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press blogger brunch

It has been an ace few weeks for book blogging events and I was thrilled when I received an invite from my favourite young adult publisher, Hot Key Books, for a blogger brunch at which they would present their upcoming 2015 titles and give bloggers to opportunity to mingle with the team and meet some of their amazing authors.

I met up with Laura at nearby Farringdon station and had a map with the route to the HKB offices ready on my phone yet I still managed to get us lost, oops. Thankfully we'd arrived into London early and still made it to the event in plenty of time. Before the presentation there was time to mingle with the lovely HKB team, fellow bloggers and author James Dawson (who had to shoot off early on in the afternoon) all while enjoying tasty breakfast food such as pastries and fruit. Yum! At 12 we made our way into the boardroom, admiring the gorgeous titles on display before sitting down for the presentations.

First up was James (who is not tiny by the way, but was sitting down!) who was full of love for bloggers, commenting on a recent series of Tweets by another author not quite so appreciative of the online book blogging community. James responded by saying that a collective is always going to be louder than an individual and authors should not bite the hand that feeds them. And to the bloggers he said: "Don't let people tell you that what you do isn't useful". Thanks, James!

He also spoke about his exciting new book, coming out later this year, which is completely different from his teen horror titles because, he said, "I wouldn't want to write the same book 17 times". All Of The Above is a coming-of-age novel without any supernatural elements, but instead with a touch of poetry woven throughout. The extract he read was truly amazing and I can't wait to hear more about it.

After James left, the HKB team took turns talking about all the exciting new books coming out this year (more about my favourites in a separate blog post tomorrow) before, one by one, some of their other authors took the stage to talk about their upcoming books.

First was Lydia Syson (pictured above) who described her novel, Liberty's Fire, as "Les Mis 40 years on". She could've stopped right there as I'm pretty sure she sold it to the room with those five words! She did add that the novel is also filled with action, music, protests and romance, all against the backdrop of the civil revolution in Paris.

Jess Vallance's novel Birdy focuses on an unlikely friendship that sounds too good to be true. It came across as a dark and very intriguing novel and the cover is absolutely amazing!

Hayley Long has two books coming out this year: Sophie Someone, for which she invented her own language, and non-fiction title Being a Girl. The latter sounded so funny! She talked about "the crimson wave collection" (what period stuff in the shops should be called) and what teens really thought of other girls "why are girls such bitches?" The HKB team pitched in that even as adults they learned a lot from the book!

Julie Mayhew was so lovely and her book, The Big Lie, sounds truly inspired. Set in contemporary Nazi England it delves into the beliefs and actions of children within a Nazi regime. It sounds like a thought-provoking read that will sprout many discussions about the perception of right and wrong.

Admittedly a book about mermaids didn't really sound like my kind of thing, but author Laura Dockrill absolutely sold Lorali to me with her fantastic presentation! She spoke about fit pirates and trampy sirens, and the extract she read from the book about a teenager wanting to turn into a mermaid and the steps she believed she had to take to achieve this was laugh-out-loud funny. She had the whole room of bloggers in stitches with that!

After the presentation it was time to mingle with the authors, get our books signed and have more tasty food (I had chocolate cake, raspberries and Prosecco. Best. Brunch. Ever!). It was such a brilliant afternoon and I loved chatting to the authors, HKB team and bloggers. They probably would've had to kick me out had I not already made another appointment I had to rush to!

As we left we also got AMAZING Hot Key Books tote bags filled with book proofs in addition to the ones I already picked up from the displays in the boardroom. I'm supposed to be rationing my new books as I have to move house soon and this means I have even more books to pack, but there were so many tempting titles that I ended up lugging ten new books on the train home. Worth it!

Thanks so much to team Hot Key Books for the invite and for organising such a fab event! I'll also be publishing my Top picks from Hot Key Books' 2015 releases blog post tomorrow.

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