YALC 2018…

When the tickets first went on sale, I knew that I wanted to go for the whole weekend. Last year I went for a day with my fellow geek and book nerd, Nisha, and so I asked her to come with me again this year. Of course she said yes and that’s when we both started to get excited for it! A few days prior to the Friday, I started to write up the weekend schedule. After being to BookCon, I knew that a schedule is a must if you want to get the majority of things done. I prioritised the signings on all days but even then I had to cut a few. I took six books with me but only managed to get four of them signed.

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Friday, 27th July:

Our itinerary for this day was as follows:

11am – Sally Green signing. I took my The Smoke Thieves ARC and Nisha bought one & Half Bad to be signed.

2pm – Joanne M. Harris signing. We’d both forgotten our books at home so we got her to sign some sticky labels which we will place in our books.

3pm – Kristina Pérez & Louise O’Neill signing. I bought Sweet Black Waves and The Surface Breaks earlier in the day to be signed.

Before YALC even opened it’s doors, Nisha and I were tired. That would set the tone for the day. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed the first day immensely and we saw and did everything we wanted but it was a long day. I’m glad we kept the signings to a minimum. We entered into a lucky dip at Gollanz for an ARC of The Girl King, which Nisha won! We went to Comic Con and pottered about a bit but our feet were too tired to do much else.

Books acquired: 3

Time: 7 hours

Steps: 10,808

Saturday, 28th July:

Our itinerary for this day was as follows:

9am – Signed copies of the Grisha series at the BKMRK stall. I made sure I was in that queue ASAP. They were selling each book for £5!

10am – Alexandra Christo signing. Nisha had bought To Kill A Kingdom the previous day because of my recommendation and managed to get it signed!

12pm – M.A. Bennett signing. I brought my copy of S.T.A.G.S. and I also bought myself a copy of her new book The Island.

1pm – Tomi Adeyemi signing. We got in the queue for this fairly early but still had to get tickets, luckily we got numbers 17 & 18. I heard she burnt through over 300 tickets and had to start turning people away. We both got our COBAB copies signed and I got my Jo Painter print signed too!

2pm – Samantha Shannon signing. I got all three Bone Season books signed and entered into her The Priory of the Orange Tree raffle. I won! One of only two copies available there!

3pm – Fletchers signing. Our work friend asked us to get her copy of Eve of Man signed. Thankfully we overheard some people talking about tickets for their signing earlier in the day so our number was 21.

3pm – Whilst Nisha was queuing for the Fletchers, I got in line for the Beneath the Citadel ARC giveaway at Abrams & Chronicle. It was a lucky dip and they had 25 copies to give away each day. I won a copy!

Saturday was the busiest day. We had a lot more timings to keep to and we found ourselves splitting up a lot to stick to them. Quite a few times I would get a book signed only to run over just in time to get another one done. Saturday was also the day we ventured to Comic Con again and then promptly decided not to do it again. The heat and stuffiness of the lower floors were unbearable. Also, Jason Momoa walked through and there were so many squeals of delight. I think he was a highlight for many. We felt like absolute bosses by the end of the day.

Books acquired: 15

Time: 8.5 hours

Steps: 9,638

Sunday, 29th July:

Our itinerary for this day was as follows:

11am – S.K. Wright signing. I bought the early release copy of It Ends With You at Waterstones that morning which she signed. We started queuing really early for this, and when it came to 11am, we were the only people in the queue. Awkward.

1pm – Melvin Burgess signing. Again, we were super early. I got Melvin to sign my The Lost Witch I bought on the Friday.

2pm – Samantha Shannon signing. I asked Samantha to sign my The Priory of the Orange Tree. The girl behind me in line was the other winner.

3pm – Christina Henry & Hayley Barker signing. We had to split up for this, I got in the queue for Hayley who signed my copy of Show Stopper and then I hopped over to Nisha who was still waiting for Christina. We both got The Mermaid signed and Nisha got The Lost Boy done too.

We agreed to keep Sunday as a chill day. Our signing times were easily spread out, and we sat around a lot just enjoying the atmosphere. Jason made another appearance and so did Peter Capaldi. We found that this was the best day for ARCs. We picked up three ARCs each on the Sunday alone. Harper were just giving away copies and so were Abrams and Chronicle. We queued for Devoted (50 copies twice a day) and Nisha won a copy of Outside from a raffle at Penguin. The day we didn’t try hard is the day that we won the most. So bizarre.

Books acquired: 6

Time: 7.5 hours

Steps: 8,245

Book haul:

The Lost Witch – Melvin Burgess*

The Mermaid – Christina Henry*

Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm and Ruin & Rising – Leigh Bardugo*

The Bone Season, The Mime Order & The Song Rising – Samantha Shannon*

It Ends With You – S.K. Wright*

Sweet Black Waves – Kristina Pérez*

The Dark Queen – Josephine Boyce*

The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neill*

The Island – M.A. Bennett*

The Priory of the Orange Tree (ARC) – Samantha Shannon*

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Devoted (ARC) – Jennifer Mathieu

Witchsign (ARC) – Den Patrick

Easy Prey (ARC) – Catherine Lo

Beneath The Citadel (ARC) – Destiny Soria

Love & War (ARC) – Melissa de la Cruz

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (ARC) – Julie C. Dao

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My Secret Youtube Life – Charlotte Seager

Save The Date – Morgan Matson

Jinxed – Amy McCulloch

Bruja Born – Zoraida Cordova

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Samplers:

Penguin Yearbook bind-up, King of Scars, Enchantée, The Devouring Gray, The Sisters of the Winter Wood, Fated, The Girl King, The Caged Queen, Empire of Silence, Skyward, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, Fierce like a Firestorm, A Storm of Ice and Stars, The Wicked King, Give the Dark My Love, The Curses, Three Strikes, The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, The Queens of Innis Lear, Summer Bird Blue & HashtagReads USB stick.

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Extras:

I was super excited when I found out that Jo Painter was going to be there because I have so much of her artwork already and I was obviously going to buy more! I bought myself a Kell & Lila bookmark and sticker, Children of Blood and Bone print and Feyre sticker. I managed to get the COBAB print signed by Tomi Adeyemi too! I also bought a Book Hangover candle by Bookish Burns, which smells incredible although I think it should be named ‘YALC Hangover’. There was also this cute little stall that sold film negatives as bookmarks and so I searched through them all to get a proper Phantom of the Opera one. I MET TOM WELLING! The fact that LFCC was only a floor below, was definitely an appealing factor to Nisha and I. We had to visit those floors because we’re both extremely geeky! I made my wishes known early on with her – I had to meet Tom Welling because I grew up on Smallville and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. He loved that my name was Johnny and I can still see his smile when I close my eyes. We also met Zachary Levi and he live streamed his Saturday signings so, we were in that! Nisha also bought some comics and I bought a skull ring which I love.

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