A Chat With Holly Smale!

What follows in a transcript for the video we posted on our channel, when we got our Geek Girl books signed by Holly Smale! (Be warned: if you have not read Head Over Heelsyou may find some of the conversation spoiler-y!)

Transcript:

Sarah: I did have to fangirl when you talked about Shakespeare

Holly Smale: How could anyone not love dinosaurs and Shakespeare?

Maddie: Write them in. Retelling!

S: That’s your next project

HS: That’s it. Hamlet but with a T-Rex!

*

HS: Did you have a good time, yeah?

Bee: Yeah, yeah, it was amazing! How are Nick and Harriet going to end? I feel so betrayed. We have already read ‘Head Over Heel’s because we got a review copy and I’m so torn, like, I love where this is going but…Nick?

HS: All I’m gonna say is that I’ve known for a long time what the story’s going to be and how it’s going to end so I’m doing it very carefully knowing what the end is. I think that everyone will be happy. But, it’s about the journey. I mean, that’s what books are.

B: I love the character development. You can see how Harriet becomes more and more mature and it’s like: this is great!

HS: Yeah, she does and that’s the thing. It’s really about Harriet developing, and also and what’s most important is that, with Nick and Harriet, it’s not enough to just love someone, you have to love yourself, to be strong enough, to be in a relationship and Harriet’s growing and it’s not unrelated that Nick can’t be there for all of it. She had to grow alone. She has to be strong enough to be in a relationship.

B: I love how we don’t know everything about their relationship, as well, because the timeline is quite jumpy but we don’t need to know.

Anna: Look at this smile. This is an author having a reader get exactly what she’s trying to do.

HS: I had someone go ‘I’ve missed a book’ and I was like ‘what one have you missed?’, I gave her the lineage and she was like ‘oh, no I haven’t, why is there five months missing?’ and I was like ‘that’s what I’m having fun with!’

B: If Harriet says she doesn’t want to remember it, we don’t need to know.

HS: And also, it’s part of the joy of an unreliable narrator. She fills you in on parts of it, then doesn’t fill you in and lies and pretends and fakes it and it’s what you do in real life, because you black out thing you don’t want to know and it also gives you the opportunity to do flashbacks to show you the story very organically, rather than A to Z, here you go, this is what it is, which I love doing. It feels more real to me, and the fact that their relationship is and the fact that everyone is so gunning for it, it makes me think that everyone else feels it’s real too.

B: I think ‘Head Over Heels is probably my favourite.’

HS: Really?! Everyone’s saying that.

B: It’s amazing!

HS: I was so nervous.

B: We can see Harriet mature and her friendships make me feel for her so much because having friends is what she’s always dreamed of.

HS: Honesty, there’s so much of me in her and I was someone that struggled with people at school like, as an adult, I’m surrounded now by people – I’m lucky I’ve met people that love me for me but the urge to clinge and to really force things is always there and when I was writing it, I thought this is how I’ve reacted to having that past so I’m going to give it to Harriet. That, like, ‘I’ve got what I want, I’ve got what I’ve always wanted and now I’m going to keep it, whatever it takes.’

B: Definitely gave me flashbacks to my secondary school experience like ‘I was Harriet!’

HS: Harriet is supposed to be a real person, and she reacts to things. You don’t just go ‘I’ve had this horrible thing happen to me, but la la la la la’, you’re over it but you have echoes back to it, so it’s just about showing someone psychologically processing. Not just that, but heartbreak, friendship, everything. Identity.

B: And Toby as well, he’s a real fave!

HS: Aww, I love him. You’ve read book five, yeah?

B: Yeah.

HS: I had the Rin intention from the beginning of book two.

B: It’s the only way it could have gone!

HS: Exactly! And I had that intention. Everyone was like ‘Oh, is Toby going to get with Harriet?’ and I’m like ‘Wait for it!’ I’m gonna give him something better than Harriet, I’m going to give him someone who actually thinks he is the king. I just think he deserves that and Rin would think he’s a king because he’s a boy Harriet.

B: I think that’s an excellent thing, that Rin comes back as well, because she’s such a beautiful secondary character that she needs to be more prominent.

M: Spin off series!

HS: I had a question yesterday at my event and they were like (they hadn’t read five) ‘is Rin coming back? She’s my favourite character’ so I was able to go ‘Yes!’ She was so special to me, there was no way I was just going to wipe her out. And that’s what’s lovely about series is that you can fall in love with characters and then go ‘I can bring them back!’ but then at the same time, it’s sad, because unless you want to write the same story again and again and again, which you don’t want to do, you can’t have them all having equal weight in every story, so you have to sit down and go ‘OK, in this book, Nat won’t be as prominent, but in the next book she’ll be a lot more prominent.’ For instance, in Book Five she takes very much a background but guiding role, more of the Annabelle thing, whereas in book six, she’s going to be very prominent. It’s going to be Nat’s main role in the book. Out of the series, it will be Six that will be Nat’s book.

B: Is Book Six going to be the last book?

HS: It is the last.

M: Sad noises.

HS: I’ll be tying everything up by this time next year and then obviously in the future, I’d love to come back and do Harriet a bit older.

M: Harriet at 27, Harriet at 53.

HS: Adrian Mole style, you know? I would love that, and I’ve already got ideas for it, but it needs, first of all, for me to do something else so that I’m not just Geek Girl forever, but also it needs time for Harriet to actually get older. So it’s not like ‘Oh by the way, it’s six months later but now she’s twenty!’ I need that time.

S: You need to take a break to write Shakespeare and dinosaurs.

HS: Yes, yes! Hamlet with a T-Rex, that’s what I’m going to be writing.

*

M: I’d like to say that Annabelle and Richard are my favourite characters in the whole thing. They’re so lovely.

HS: I love them!

M: I love that they’re such prominent parents as well because parents are something that’s just invisible in YA.

HS: Yeah, I did that on purpose, because parents are important you know!

M: And when you were saying about the gender balance in raising children and I really liked how Richard was always there and Annabelle was the lawyer mum

HS: It was really important to me to show that parents don’t have to be ‘MUM’, ‘DAD’, the stereotypical roles. They can be loving, they can be fulfilling different roles and also showing a romance between adults rather than just teenagers to show that the love story isn’t just Nick and Harriet and Nick and Jasper- Nick and Jasper! That would be another story!

B: Fanfiction!

HS: But, it’s showing this adult love which is established and is decades old and has it’s own pattern. I think it’s nice to show that life doesn’t stop, that love doesn’t stop when you hit teenage years.

M: It definitely added the term ‘maverick’ to my dictionary. The amount of times it came up in the first book, I was like ‘this is going to be used now!’

HS: Richard is basically my dad. My dad is a self-declared maverick.

B: He’s adorable. Richard is adorable.

HS: He’s adorable. My dad is an idiot but he is adorable.

M: We like exactly the same things about these books, so when she was talking I was like ‘yeah, yeah!’

HS: You know what, I know this sounds arrogant, but I love these books. I love, LOVE them. I read them and I go ‘God, they’re good!’ But, I love the characters and they do what I want them to do. I wanted an adult parenting team that show the love element, but also a man that wasn’t afraid to be feminine, and a woman that was more masculine and showing this journey as a teenager gets older and more experienced but also making mistakes and being quite childish at times, and love coming in and out and having to deal with that, so it’s not just a love story because that’s not enough.

M: What was your favourite modeling adventure in the books, so far, because obviously she’s got Australia to go?

HS: Do you know what, one of my favourite things is thinking up her shoots. I am the most selfish writer; I’ll just do whatever I feel like. I love elephants, so the elephant shoot was pretty amazing and I only did it because I love elephants so much, I was like, ‘I’m doing an elephant shoot not matter what anyone says!’

M: It makes sense!

HS: Well, I’ve washed an elephant in a pool, so I’ve done it, so I know what it’s like to stroke an elephant and cuddle it, so I love that. I loved the Japanese ones.

M: Oh gosh, that one in the pool.

B: Harriet with the lights in the water.

M: I can so imagine it.

B: I can picture it. I need to draw it! It’s so gorgeous.

HS: And in the glass box, with all of the dolls. It’s such a fun job because I get to go ‘what’s the most fun, weird, wacky thing’ and I never did any of the shoots that she actually does because mine were weird in another way and I like making them up so once I had to dress up like a raspberry. In Geek Drama, I made her dress up like a carrot, so I do tweak it. But, I did some really wacky stuff, and I go through Vogue and I go like ‘why is a woman standing in an elevator, I don’t know.’

HS: [about Geek Drama] What’s so fun about it is getting to come at it from Harriet’s perspective, because she’s so dry, and so sarcastic, and being able to slam Shakespeare while also adoring him. Being able to go, I personally think Hamlet is a complete idiot, but I love Hamlet the play.

HS: I just love my job and I’m going to be so sad when [Geek Girl] finishes.

M: I absolutely love when Harriet’s doing the shoots, when she’s trying to do what they want her to do, and they’re like ‘no, no, that’s not it’ and when she’s being herself that’s when they really love her. I think that’s a really lovely message, that you’ve got to be yourself, and that’s what people will enjoy more than trying to be someone that you’re not.

HS: Yeah, exactly. And, it comes across in pictures, you know. The really good models are models that are able to relax and show something through the pictures, not just standing there woodenly, which is what I did, which is why I was rubbish. I had two facial expressions and it was this or this.

M: That with a smile!

HS: Just really, really, really happy and scared.

S: Was the pout not a thing?

HS: Oh, I didn’t know how to pout. Everyone else was pouting and I was going like this. Everyone was like ‘you look like a little owl!’ Also, again, showing a variety of models, showing that models come from every background and every type of person. You get thick ones, you get smart ones, you get nice ones, you get bitchy ones. They’re so many types of people and you can’t just stereotype, like ‘this model’s going to be a bitch and stupid,’ you know?

M: Harriet’s definitely not a stereotype and that’s what’s so wonderful about her! We literally promote it to everyone: read Geek Girl, it’s the best thing!

B: On our channel, it’s like every other video. It’s always relevant.

M: Now whenever we say Geek Girl people are like ‘shh!’

HS: No, no, you tell ‘em to ‘SHHH!’ Keep talking!

B: Thank you!

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Interview with Beth Revis, author of Paper Hearts Series!

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I  N  T  E  R  V  I  E  W:

To celebrate the release of Beth Revis’ latest book ‘Paper Hearts’, completely dedicated to inspiring aspiring writers, we got the chance to ask Beth some questions about the book! (And if that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s also a giveaway you can enter here!)

Maddie and Bee: You discuss a lot of controversial tips for writers in Paper
Hearts, which piece of classic writing advice are you most opposed to and
why?

Beth Revis: “Write every day.” That one piece of advice was very damaging to me,
personally, and it’s one of the most pervasive in literature. You hear it
over and over when you start out and it’s just wrong. I have never been
the type of person who can write every day. My writing schedule usually
means that for three or so days of the week, I can write between 2k and
10k words, averaging out to about 10-15k per week. But when I do those
really big bursts of writing, I almost always take one or two days off.
And that’s fine–the book gets done, often at the same rate as someone who
writes every day. It doesn’t matter how often you write, as long as you
write consistently and progress toward completing the novel.

“Write every day” is the kind of advice that has a good heart. There are a
lot of people out there who like the idea of writing, but don’t actually
write. But if you’re not one of those people, forget this advice. Write
the way you write to finish a novel. That’s all that matters.
Continue reading “Interview with Beth Revis, author of Paper Hearts Series!”

Cover Reveal and Prologue of Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I don’t know about you, but Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor is one of my MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES of 2016! The first book in this new series by the author of one of my all-time favourite series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, will be released in September and that couldn’t come soon enough! And the lovely people at Hodder & Stoughton have given us the opportunity to share the covers for the UK and US editions along with the prologue of the book! So a huge thank you to Hodder, and if you want more information on their books then check out their website.

So without further ado, here are the covers for the UK (left) and the US (right)

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Aren’t they beautiful?! That blue is going to look seriously amazing on any shelf! I can not wait to start reading this series, the covers are so intriguing and up until now we’ve had very little to go on! Here’s what we know so far:

Laini Taylor © Jim DiBartolo
Strange the Dreamer is the story of: 

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperilled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage.

Goodreads | Amazon

BUT we can now reveal the PROLOGUE of this amazing and mysterious book, right here on Heart Full of Books, can you believe it?

PROLOGUE

On the second sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.

Her skin was blue, her blood was red.

She broke over an iron gate, crimping it on impact, and there she hung, impossibly arched, graceful as a temple dancer swooning on a lover’s arm. One slick finial anchored her in place. Its point, protruding from her sternum, glittered like a brooch. She fluttered briefly as her ghost shook loose, and then her hands relaxed, shedding fistfuls of freshly picked torch ginger buds.

Later, they would say these had been hummingbird hearts and not blossoms at all.

They would say she hadn’t shed blood but wept it. That she was lewd, tonguing her teeth at them, upside down and dying, that she vomited a serpent that turned to smoke when it hit the ground. They would say a flock of moths had come, frantic, and tried to lift her away.

That was true. Only that.

They hadn’t a prayer, though. The moths were no bigger than the startled mouths of children, and even dozens together could only pluck at the strands of her darkening hair until their wings sagged, sodden with her blood. They were purled away with the blossoms as a grit-choked gust came blasting down the street. The earth heaved underfoot. The sky spun on its axis. A queer brilliance lanced through billowing smoke, and the people of Weep had to squint against it. Blowing grit and hot light and the stink of saltpeter. There had been an explosion. They might have died, all and easily, but only this girl had, shaken from some pocket of the sky.

Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.

She was also blue.

Blue as opals, pale blue. Blue as cornflowers, or dragonfly wings, or a spring—not summer—sky.

Someone screamed. The scream drew others. The others screamed, too, not because a girl was dead, but because the girl was blue, and this meant something in the city of Weep. Even after the sky stopped reeling, and the earth settled, and the last fume spluttered from the blast site and dispersed, the screams went on, feeding themselves from voice to voice, a virus of the air.

The blue girl’s ghost gathered itself and perched, bereft, upon the spearpoint-tip of the projecting finial, just an inch above her own still chest. Gasping in shock, she tilted back her invisible head and gazed, mournfully, up.

The screams went on and on.

And across the city, atop a monolithic wedge of seamless, mirror-smooth metal, a statue stirred, as though awakened by the tumult, and slowly lifted its great horned head.

(©Laini Taylor, STRANGE THE DREAMER, out September 2016 by Hodder & Stoughton)

UK Jacket - Strange the Dreamer HBOH WOW. How does Laini Taylor make every word so perfect and magical? I’m already addicted! All that imagery is spell-binding and really sets this book up to be one of the best I’ll read in 2016.

So, what we’ve learned is that Strange The Dreamer is guaranteed to be as addicting as her other series. My jaw was practically on the floor, because this is poetry: ‘Her feet were bare, her mouth stained damson. Her pockets were all full of plums. She was young and lovely and surprised and dead.’

#StrangeTheDreamer

An Interview With Katy Cannon!

Love-lies-mincepiesFor the release of Love, Lies and Mince Pies, I got the chance to interview the author about the book and the other books in the series, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies and Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines, both of which are some of my all-time favourite contemporaries!

Maddie: What inspired you to write ‘Love, Lies and Lemon Pies’?

Katy Cannon: Basically, my love of cake! I was looking for a story that would encompass all the things I enjoy writing about most – a group of unlikely friends, great recipes and a good old-fashioned bad boy meets good girl with issues love story. The idea of a Bake Club just grew from there.

M: Did you have a favourite recipe from the book?

KC: I love them all! The ones I bake most often are the chocolate chip cookies and the double chocolate brownies, because they’re quick and easy (to make and to eat!). But my favourite is probably the Birthday Cake recipe, because that’s the cake my mum still makes for me every birthday.

M: What was your favourite part about writing ‘Love, Lies and Mince Pies’?

KC: Getting to revisit the gang and find out where they are now, a whole term after the events of Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines. When I wrote that book, my favourite thing was hanging out with the characters again, and it was the same this time. They’re all just such great fun to write!

M: Jasper was such a fun character in both books, the fact he’s getting his own story is fabulous! What did you particularly enjoy about giving Jasper a voice?

KC: I love that Jasper is everyone’s favourite, because he’s (not-so-secretly) a lot like my youngest brother. It was so much fun getting into Jasper’s head for a change, and figuring out what stresses him out, what he thinks about, and what his happy ever after looks like.

M: So, my fangirl heart needs to know, are Lottie and Mac living their happily ever after (with cake, of course)?

(*Spoiler Warning!*) KC: Of course! Mac is still living above the bakery, working out his apprenticeship at the White Hill Bakery and studying at the college, while Lottie studies for her A Levels. The whole gang hangs out at the flat sometimes, and someone is always baking something (usually Lottie).

M: It’s a tough decision, but do you prefer baking or sewing?

KC: Ooh, it is a tough one! I like sewing because I have something to keep at the end of it, but I think baking just edges ahead as my favourite because you get to eat what you make (and I do have a rather sweet tooth…).

M: What’s your favourite Christmas food?

KC: My Mum’s mince pies! They’re the basis for the mince pie recipe in Love, Lies & Lemon Pies – and in Love, Lies & Mince Pies, too, actually! They’re richer and tastier than any other mince pies I’ve ever tasted. I make them to her recipe every year, and as soon as I do it starts to feel like Christmas. But somehow, mine are never quite as good as Mum’s…

M: What’s the best advice you’ve been given about writing?

KC: Keep trying. I wrote for years before I was published, practicing, improving and learning all the way. It doesn’t come overnight – but if you give up, success doesn’t come at all.

M: And finally, would you consider writing any more spin off stories about the Bake Club gang?

KC: After the fun I’ve had with this one, I’m definitely thinking about it! I like the idea of checking in on them from time to time, seeing how they’re getting on. I’m not sure I’m quite ready to leave them, just yet.

Love, Lies and Mince Pies is being released on Katy’s website for all to see on within the next couple of days, but for now, sign-up to her newsletter for news and fun!

Book Signing: Meeting Leigh Bardugo!

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This was the best event ever!

There, summary complete!

Seriously, though, this was the BEST. We only managed to get tickets for the event two days ago, and weren’t even aware that the signing was happening until this week, so it’s been quite a whirlwind adventure of tracking down ‘Six of Crows’ and meeting one of Bee’s favourite, favourite authors.The event was scheduled from three until five o’clock. We had to pay £3 each for the event, but had no idea what was in store (literally, ahah!) We’d met Sarah J Maas earlier in the year, and for that we were allowed one book signed and one dedicated, with no photo ops and only a badge to remember the event by. THIS signing was unlike anything we’d been to before.

photo 1After running around the entire building to try and find just where they’d decided to hide Leigh Bardugo, we eventually made it to the top floor where seats arranged like a mini theatre, with two chairs stationed at the top. We had no idea how exclusive the event was, and we’d guess there were about 30 people there in total. Luckily, we managed to snag seats in the second row, so our view was fantastic! Also, Leigh is incredible at projecting her voice so no one missed anything she said.

The even started with a reading, probably about 4 pages from roughly the middle of Six of Crows giving us a delicious insight into the relationship between Nina and Mathias, and also an example of her Irish accent! Next there was an interview for about an hour, with really intriguing questions that covered the majority of the basics about the book, the Grishaverse and her writing process.

During the interview process, Maddie decided to whip out her phone and take some notes so that we could remember all of the  quirky details and funny stories that Leigh told, so we’ll share a few:

  • [After using the analogy of the boiling pot and the palette] “Everything about my brain is food!”
  • [About her favourite new character from Six of Crows] “Matthias was the easiest to write because he’s a DRAMA queen.” But her favourite character was either Nina or Kaz.
  • She reiterated a few times how much she disliked researching about boats! “I won’t care about boats and I never will!”
  • For Six of Crows she talked to a guy that had worked for the CIA to get information about impenetrable fortresses, which is a key plot point in the new tale.
  • Six of Crows is going to be a duet – we say duet because Leigh said she didn’t like the word duology (“sounds like some kind of body cream” – which is true) – and even though she said she could have written 12 books in the series, she wants to take a break from the Grisha and experiment with other magic systems. Coming next year, she’s written a short story in the new anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins and talked about how fun it was to write a contemporary (“there’s no death?!”)
  • However, she did promise more kissing in Book 2, not to mention some cameo roles of our favourites from the original trilogy!
  • Grisha is pronounced Gree-sha. The ‘Gen’ in Genya is pronounced like ‘gen’ in ‘genesis’
  • She loves a good love/hate relationship, embodied in Nina and Matthias.
  • The inspiration for Shadow and Bone came from when she was staying in the mountains and she’d fallen asleep only to wake up at sunset and all of the lights were off. It was a house unknown to her so she had no idea where the lights were or where to find the knives to protect herself in her panicked state – she wielded her shoe instead! – which got her thinking about what would happen if it was just dark forever and you couldn’t turn on the lights? What would lurk in the dark and why would people go in there if it was so dangerous? And what power would you need to defeat the darkness and thus Alina and the Darkling were born!
  • Leigh said that she was “drawn to deep moments of darkness”, for example what happens to to the villain in fairytales after the story is over?
  • She claimed she would make a terrible spy, would want to be a heartrender and is a Slytherin. (All of the Crows patroness would have fangs, too, apparently!)
  • After writing a particularly difficult or emotional scene, Leigh would write a large chunk of Matthias/Nina banter.
  • Leigh doesn’t write chronologically (necessarily) and likes to outlines although she won’t always know exact details.

Then the floor was open to everyone else to ask questions! But, we’re going to do a separate blog post on all the interesting, writing advice that Leigh gave us!

photo 7photo 4We both got a copy of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows signed. Leigh asked each of us who our favourite characters were from the Grisha trilogy, and personalised the dedications in our copies accordingly! (Isn’t that such a sweet touch? Bee said Alina and I said Nicolai!) The three of us talked about our unusually American names and their origins, our degree as Creative Writing students and who we wanted Alina to end up with at the end of Ruin and Rising. I got to tell Leigh how Bee recommended the series to me, and how it got me into the high fantasy genre, and Bee got to gush a little about Laini Taylor (any opportunity!) I also got a book recommendation from Leigh, and she compared us to Cath and Wren from Fangirl! (Isn’t that the best compliment ever?!!

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Oh gosh, it was genuinely one of the best afternoons of our lives. We’re so pleased we got to take advantage of the opportunity and that we now have a beautiful book to read, Six of Crows. 

Book Signing: Meeting Sarah J Maas!

On Monday 25th May, Sarah J Maas was doing a book signing in a bookstore as close to us as possible, so we rounded up our best friend, and fellow ‘Throne of Glass’ lover, Sarah and jetted to Waterstone’s for the signing and release of ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’.

Because Bee and I had already read the book, (check out our review!) we only bought one physical copy, and then gathered our Throne of Glass collection to have signed.

photo 1The ride over was super fun. We just screamed, I mean sang, along to Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood in the car, before arriving. The signing was meant to happen from 4pm-6pm. It had just turned 3pm when we arrived, and people were already queuing! Luckily, it wasn’t a Disney World sized queue, but it was enough to snake outside the store. I’d say we were in line for about half an hour to forty minutes before we were close enough to see Sarah J Maas.

Overall, it was a good experience, but over in a second. We got our books signed. Bee got Crown of Midnight made out to her because that was her favourite one, and I got ACOTAR, while our copy of TOG just got a signature, because the policy was one dedication and one signature per person.

photo 2I always wonder what to say to authors. I wanted to say I liked her writing, and that fairy tale retellings are my favourite genre, but when the time came, I just smiled and said hi. Thirty seconds really isn’t enough to say anything more profound than hi, or convey how much I liked the series so far, and where I hoped ACOTAR would go.

It got me thinking about the author experience, and, if I were an author, how I’d want my fans to feel after meeting me. I’d want them to feel like meeting author me was special. I’d want to ask them questions like “Who was your fave character?” or “What was your favourite setting?” rather than “So, how far did you travel to get here?” which doesn’t really give shy fans like me the opportunity to say how much I admire an author.

photo 3It just all felt a little impersonal. Other authors I’ve met have written cute stock messages in my book that fit the story, like Cathy Cassidy wrote ‘Life’s a beach!’ in ‘Driftwood’ and that level of story intimacy was absent from Sarah’s dedication. But, I’ve only met three authors in my life so far, two of which have happened this year, so I never really know what to expect. At least Sarah was giving out badges at the signing. Plus, she had a first edition of Throne of Glass, the US edition, all library bound, that she wanted us to sign. That was a cool touch.

It was definitely interesting and great to meet such a high profile author before she jetted off to BEA, but perhaps not as memorable as my other author encounters…

Heart Full Of Books 1st Year Anniversary!

Today marks the anniversary of our first post on ‘Heart Full of Books’. It was a review of ‘Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac’ by Gabrielle Zevin for Bee, and a review of ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ by Laure Eve, for me.

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since we started this book blog! Before May 2014, we’d just thought of blogs as a place to document travelling adventures or lifestyle posts about candles and hairspray. Our YouTube channel had been created a year earlier, but had only become active in October 2013. Now, it’s great to have two completely different platforms on which we can share our thoughts and opinions, gaining feedback from lovely viewers like yourselves!

Writing this blog is definitely one of the best things we could have done. I love that we’ve created a portfolio of over 100 reviews, as coherently writing what I think of a book I’ve read is probably my favourite part of the reading process. People can read what I thought of a book, and perhaps I’ll have read it differently to anyone else.

That’s what’s so lovely about writing a blog. It’s so personal, but can be part of a great community! I have found so many likeminded people through blogging and making videos and that’s truly something I treasure. If you’re thinking of creating a blog, but are maybe feeling a bit hesitant about the whole thing, I couldn’t recommend it more. Even if you’re blogging about jigsaw puzzles and dog walking, there is an audience out there who want to read what you have to say.

Since December 2014, we’ve definitely been taking our blog more seriously. When we first started, we were posting a few times a month and hadn’t really found the best reviewing style that we have today. As soon as we started Blogmas, we realised we wanted to try and post something every day, and would panic at five o’clock in the afternoon if nothing had been posted!

So, our goals for our blog from now on are:

  1. Continue to post as much as possible – we do review every book we read, after all, but don’t feel as much pressure to write something every day; exams are coming up!
  2. Write more recommendations – share our favourite books, and books that aren’t being championed enough!
  3. Post more non-reviews – perhaps more anecdotes and smaller features, like ‘Cover Comparisons’ because they’re truly fun to write!

We hope ‘Heart Full Of Books’ will continue to grow and can’t wait for another! blogging year!

MIRAInk Blogger Event: Meeting Maria V Snyder

On the 25th March, we were invited by MIRAInk to a blogger event as part of Maria V Snyder’s UK tour, for the release of her newest book Shadow Study, the first in a new series called ‘Soulfinders’, that follows Yelena from Poison Study. As you can guess, we were beyond excited as Bee is the biggest fan of the ‘Study Series’ and will happily claim Yelena to be her favourite female protagonist of all time (next to Amy Curry, from Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, of course!)

The event took place in the MIRAInk offices (such lovely, lovely offices) in Surrey and was to begin at 7:30pm. As well as getting to meet Maria and get our books signed, (we had a lot of them!) we got the chance to meet some other bloggers as well, who were such friendly, great people!

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So, once we’d all been acquainted with our name tags and the refreshments, we got to meet Maria. I think everyone was a little starstruck as we listen to her talk about her family and her cat (named Valek!). It’s strange to imagine authors not sat at desks, typing away at their next masterpiece!

bloggersThen ‘The Mingling’ commenced!  We all talked about our blogs and what we’d most recently read, but after that we started to just talk about Game of Thrones and student life and general bookish wonder. I loved going into a room filled with people I already had so much in common with –  bloggers are an excellent breed of human 🙂

We also got recognised (?!?!) from our YouTube channel, which was pretty amazing! Cara, the lovely lady who invited us to the event, asked us about our channel and the different mediums we all use to talk about books. It’s great that there are so many different ways to share how much we love literature!

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Getting to meet Maria was amazing! She was so funny and interesting, and asked us what it’s like to be twins. We’re going to see her again on 6th April, so hope to get to talk to her more then 🙂

When it was time to go, we got a very adorable neon pink gift bag, with two books, an Easter egg, nail varnish and a notebook (oooh!) Overall, it was such a lovely event and we cannot express how thankful we are to MIRAInk for the invitation! It’s a night we’ll always remember – thank you for the books, Maria and the new friends ❤