Last year I attended Books and the City’s spring blogger event at Simon and Schuster, if you want to check it out, it’s here. This year I was lucky enough to be invited again, which meant another fab day out in London beforehand, which only added to the excitement I felt the moment the invite pinged it’s way to my email inbox.
In an unusually organised fashion, I had the forethought to ask Laura (from Laura’s Good Books) if she would like to meet, as we’ve been chatting on twitter for quite a while now, and I always forget she lives near London. Naturally organisation is not my forté, as I had the dates mixed up, thankfully I realised a couple of days beforehand, and we quickly re-arranged to meet on the correct date (which I checked about twice daily until then). Anyway, we met up at Waterloo station and quickly made our way to a second hand book market I had never heard of, but was just a stone’s throw from the station. Sadly they were still setting up, but there were a few good books there (typically already owned them), will definitely check it out again when I’m next in london. While discussing our plans for the rest of the day, Laura gave me a present, which was a lovely Harry Potter necklace, completely adorable, Thanks Laura! We then caught a bus to Covent Garden, had a quick mooch around there before heading to Charing Cross road and the delights of Foyles.
I found a lovely hardback of ‘A Thousand Nights’ by E.K. Johnston and was tempted to buy it, but none of the dust jackets were perfect, and like many of you possibly are, I’m a bit ‘precious’ about how my books look, at least if buying new. It is definitely on my list to look out for in the future though as it is one of the most prettiest books i’ve seen. The cover is gorgeous, if you take off the dust jacket there is gold foiling detail on the actual cover, and there’s a pretty pattern on the paper’s edges. Definitely a work of art. To me, it sometimes seems that a lot of YA books get a lot more attention in design than adult fiction (excluding some beautiful classics editions that are out there), but maybe I’m just not looking hard enough. That isn’t to say the covers in adult fiction are horrible, far from it, but it’s the little touches like the hardback having a cover under the dust jacket and patterned printed on the page edges that can make the books shine. Anyway, sorry to ramble on, let me continue…
So with no luck at Foyles, we stopped for lunch at ‘The Spice For Life’ pub nearby and had a nice lunch and pint of Cider. I forget how much I like Aspall’s, since Thatcher’s Gold is more Somerset’s ‘standard’ cider of choice in bars. Would it be terribly disloyal of me to admit that maybe I prefer Aspall’s? Probably, I may be ousted from Somerset any day now. However, no cider can beat the ‘Apples and Pears’ cider from Frome that my local stocks, tastes exactly like the pear drop sweets and is pure heaven.
Lastly was a stop at Waterstones Piccadilly, which has a big romance section and a lovely YA section as well. However inspiration in buying books was lacking, I couldn’t find anything I felt that I really wanted, and it wasn’t until last minute I actually found a couple of books I wanted, so raced to the checkout to buy ‘The Mistake I Made‘ by Paula Daly and ‘No Place To Hide‘ by Susan Lewis before I could convince myself otherwise. With my ‘Books are my Bag’ tote finally in use, Laura and I headed to the tube where we parted ways, and then it was off to King’s Cross and to the main event.
While waiting for the talk to start we were given the opportunity to talk to other bloggers, have a drink, and stuff our faces full of the most delicious cupcakes from Cakes and Doillies, which had the most intricate icing I’ve ever seen. Lots of the cakes had icing discs on, and there was a section of either the cityscape in BATC’s logo, the BATC text logo, or Spring Blogger Event in the same style. The icing was so perfect, my handwriting looks like a big fat mess compared to it, and that’s me using a pen and lined paper, not icing and blank, delicious icing discs. While I think I’m an OK baker in getting cakes to taste good, decoration has never been my strong point, I cringe every time I see my icing work on the nyan cat cake I attempted, so hats off to the talented people there!
Onto the talk, after a welcoming by Sara-Jade Virtue, who was as lovely and bubbly as ever, we were introduced to Clare Hey, who introduced the authors, Juliet Ashton, Holly Hepburn, Paige Toon and Penny Parkes. They all gave a reading from their upcoming publications, and then there was a Q&A.
First up was Juliet Ashton, who read from ‘These Days of Ours‘ which I have been begging to read since I saw it. The reading was absolutely fantastic, and at one point, in a part that mentions ‘consumption’ I found it so incredibly funny that I was at sincere risk of getting into one the moments where I literally cannot stop laughing for maybe 20 or 30 minutes. Luckily I managed to surpress the urge and listen to the rest (which was equally fantastic). It will be interesting to see if I have a similar reaction when I read that line, now I know about it. The neighbours may think I’ve gone crazy. Juliet is one of the funniest people I’ve met and I cannot wait to read her new book.
Next was Holly Hepburn reading from her novella ‘Summer at the Star and Sixpence‘, I reviewed ‘Snowdrop at the Star and Sixpence‘ in December and really really enjoyed it. Set in a pub, so suits me to a tea and the summer novella holds further promise of a hot blacksmith and cellar man, what more can you want? This novella sounds just as good as the first and will be perfect when I want a nice comforting quick read.
Ebook (Out April 25th)
Third was Paige Toon, of course some of you may know she is my favourite author, so was naturally excited to hear her read part of her new book ‘The One We Fell in Love With‘, and OH MY GOD it is set to be a good one. Written from the viewpoints of identical triplets who fall in love with the same man, it sounds like it’s going to be another fantastic book from Paige.
Last, but of course by no means least, was Penny Parkes and her book ‘Out of Practice‘. I hadn’t heard of this book beforehand, but with all the talk of Dr Dan, and the reading of the beginning of the book, I already know I am going to enjoy it, especially Elsie, who sounds incredible.
After all the readings and Q&A we went back to the other room for a glass of fizz, then there was an opportunity to pick up a few books, our goody bag, which had a copy of each of the authors books in (which is amazing, thank you SJ and everyone at S&S) that we then had to opportunity to get signed. There was also a few other goodies, and a chapter sampler for a book by Georgia Clark thats coming out in the summer (who was also there so I also managed to get that signed). Of course meeting them and speaking with them all was great. Completely made a fool out of myself in Juliet Ashton, and probably fangirled a bit too much in front of Paige Toon.
Overall it was a fantastic evening, thank you to all the authors, Clare, Sara-Jade and the whole Books and the City team for organising a great evening and inviting me along.