Friday, March 29, 2013

Random House Blogger Brunch

I do so love going to the Blogger Brunches held by Random House Children's Books.  There's always a really great atmosphere, plenty of book talk and excitement, cool authors and most importantly, homemade goodies!  The ladies at RH really spoil us book bloggers in this respect :) Sadly, I didn't get photographic evidence of it this time, but next time I promise I will...

The blogger brunch had been put off for a few months because of snow earlier in the year but hearing about the wonderful books being published by Random House this year and hearing authors Jonathan Stroud and Amy McCulloch were definitely worth the wait!

The brunch started off with some nibbles and chat before sitting down to hear about great books.  We sort of skimmed over the January/February titles - The Last Minute by Eleanor Updale, The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan, How To Fall by Jane Casey, Skylark by Meagan Spooner and Rat Runners by Oisin McGann - all of which sound amazing and you really should look them up if you haven't already heard of them!

Next we had a look at some books coming out later in the year.  There was a special vlog from Helen Grant, the author of Silent Saturday which comes out in early April in hardback.

Silent Saturday by Helen Grant (4th April)

Seventeen-year-old Veerle is frustrated with life in suburban Brussels. But a chance encounter with a hidden society, whose members illegally break into unoccupied buildings around the city, soon opens up a whole new world of excitement - and danger.

When one of the society's founding members disappears, Veerle suspects foul play. But nothing can prepare her for the horror that is about to unfold when an old foe emerges from the shadows... No one is safe, and The Hunter will strike again...

Then we talked about The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles, and how she's a teenage girl in Wales who has been very successful on Wattpad before publishing this, her first book!

The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles (2nd May)

Meet Rochelle Evans: pretty, popular - and never been kissed. Meet Noah Flynn: badass, volatile - and a total player. And also Elle's best friend's older brother... When Elle decides to run a kissing booth for the school's Spring Carnival, she locks lips with Noah and her life is turned upside down. Her head says to keep away, but her heart wants to draw closer - this romance seems far from fairy tale and headed for heartbreak. But will Elle get her happily ever after?

And then a bit was mentioned about a book I'm very much looking forward to, ACID by Emma Pass.  The main character of ACID is meant to be pretty bad-ass, but then you can tell that from the cover, right? She's looking fierce!

ACID by Emma Pass (25th April)

2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

I've not read anything by Anne Fine as yet, but I really love the sound of her new book, Blood Family!

Blood Family by Anne Fine (4th July)

Edward is four years old when he is locked away with his mother by her abusive, alcoholic partner, Harris. By the time an elderly neighbour spots his pale face peering through a crack in the boarded-up window and raises the alarm, he is seven.

Rescue comes, but lasting damage has been done. Sent to live with a kindly foster family, and then adopted, Edward struggles to adapt to normal life. Even as a teenager it's still clear to his new family and schoolmates there's something odd about him.

Then one fateful day, Edward catches a glimpse of himself in a photograph. What he sees shocks him to the core - a vision of Harris. Was this monster his father all along? And does that mean that, deep down, another Harris is waiting to break out?

Every step of progress Edward has made swiftly begins to unravel, and he has to decide whether his blood will determine his future.

And I think The Child's Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnson could pull a few heartstrings when it's published in May!  I'm not sure I would have picked it up if I hadn't heard the publicists of RH talking so enthusiastically about it.

The Child's Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnson (2nd May)

When Bat, a young African herd-boy, stumbles upon an orphaned baby elephant, he takes her home and pledges to look after her. As Meya grows and learns, she becomes part of Bat's family, and is soon the joy of the entire village. But she can't stay with Bat for ever - she belongs to the wild, and with Bat's help she joins an elephant herd, roaming free on the plains.

Bat returns to the gentle, peaceful rhythms of village life. But everything he knows is shattered when he and his best friend Muka are kidnapped and forced into the child army. They witness horrors and experience cruelties they never thought possible.

Now it is time for Meya to rescue Bat, but even together, are they strong enough to find their way home through the harsh African savannah?

And phew, how creepy does this next book sound?! Ghosts and china dolls and ... I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

Doll Bones by Holly Black (9th May)

Zach, Poppy, and Alice have been friends forever. And for almost as long, they’ve been playing one continuous, ever-changing game of pirates and thieves, mermaids and warriors. Ruling over all is the Great Queen, a bone-china doll cursing those who displease her. But they are in middle school now. Zach’s father pushes him to give up make-believe, and Zach quits the game. Their friendship might be over, until Poppy declares she’s been having dreams about the Queen—and the ghost of a girl who will not rest until the bone-china doll is buried in her empty grave.

Zach and Alice and Poppy set off on one last adventure to lay the Queen’s ghost to rest. But nothing goes according to plan, and as their adventure turns into an epic journey, creepy things begin to happen. Is the doll just a doll or something more sinister? And if there really is a ghost, will it let them go now that it has them in its clutches?

There was a bit of swooning over a certain Alejandro next.  Victoria Lamb won the RNA award this year with Witchstruck and the sequel, which I'm pining for, Witchfall, will be out in July!

Witchfall by Victoria Lamb (4th July)

London, 1554. At the court of Mary Tudor, life is safe for no one. The jealous, embittered queen sees enemies all around her, and the infamous Spanish Inquisition holds the court in its merciless grip. But Meg Lytton has more reason to be afraid than most - for Meg is a witch, and exposure would mean certain death. Even more perilous, Meg is secretly betrothed to the young priest Alejandro de Castillo; a relationship which they must hide at all costs.

In the service of the queen's sister, Princess Elizabeth, Meg tries to use her powers to foretell her mistress's future. But when a spell goes terribly wrong, and Meg begins to have horrifying dreams, she fears she has released a dark spirit into the world, intent on harming her and those around her.

And did you read Crusher by Niall Leonard? I decided to ignore the 'he's-the-husband-of-EL-James' stuff and read it ... and I really liked it! The sequel, featuring Finn Maguire again, will be out in September and I shall definitely be picking it up!(And the Crusher paperback is out in June!)

Incinerator by Niall Leonard (5th September)

London ganglord The Guvnor is in hiding, and Finn Maguire has begun a new life running a boxing gym with his old friend and coach Delroy. But when Finn's lawyer Nicky Hale vanishes overnight with all his money, Finn finds himself in hock to a loan shark with a vicious gang of enforcers. Desperate to track down Nicky and repay his debts, Finn investigates her other clients and soon finds himself engulfed in a web of lies, betrayal, malice and madness, with only his wits and his fists to keep him alive.

There was talk of a new series by Susan Cooper in August! And also Lauren Kate's new book, Teardrop!  A new series about cyber-hacking by James Dashner sounds pretty interesting. And of course, #nobleconflict stirred up some curiousity! 

But the real highlight of the blogger brunch were the two author talks by Jonathan Stroud and Amy McCulloch. 

First up, Jonathan Stroud talked about his new series Lockwood and Co, which is about teenage ghost hunters.  It sounds absolutely brilliant already, but then he pulled out a backpack filled with things one might need to hunt ghosts ... a chain, iron shavings, a sword, even a teapot!  The book sounds funny and scary and all kinds of awesome! I really cannot wait. 

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood and Co) by Jonathan Stroud (29th August)

A Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, and spirits are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see - and, hopefully, eradicate - the supernatural enemies. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE, the plucky and talented Lucy teams up with Anthony, the leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their wise-cracking colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of one of the most haunted houses in England: Combe Carey Hall. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall's legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? How did the Problem originate, and how can it be solved?

We were given a chapter extract of this book which I've been itching to read ...

And then, Amy McCulloch came in and talked a bit about The Oathbreaker's Shadow, the first of a duology and how she took inspiration from Mongolian folk tales.  And then she read from a scene from the book!

The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch (6th June)

Fifteen-year-old Raim lives in a world where you tie a knot for every promise that you make. Break that promise and you are scarred for life, and cast out into the desert.

Raim has worn a simple knot around his wrist for as long as he can remember. No one knows where it came from, and which promise of his it symbolises, but he barely thinks about it at all—not since becoming the most promising young fighter ever to train for the elite Yun guard. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to his best friend (and future king) Khareh, the string bursts into flames and sears a dark mark into his skin.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

A gripping YA action-adventure fantasy, the first part of a planned duology.

Wow, was the whole morning so much fun!  It's always amazing to go to a book event like this, hear about some wonderful books and chat with some great bookish people (editors, authors, publicists and other bloggers!) Thank you so much to Random House for organising such a great event!   (And for the incredible goody bag we all went away with...)


  1. Wow, sounds like you had an amazing time - well jeal! The Child's Elephant sounds great, must keep my eyes peeled for that one.

    1. I did have an amazing time, thanks! The Child's Elephant does sound pretty good...

  2. Ahhhh, a new series by Susan Cooper? I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

    1. Yes, sorry, I should have mentioned something more about it in this post but I didn't want it to be ten million words long! I think it's called Ghost Hawk?

  3. So jealous! Load of awesome looking books, but I did just find The Kissing Booth on netgalley, so I'm happy :)

  4. Ohmygod, all of these books look so amazing!!!! :O Glad you had a good time, and I seriously can't wait until these are published :D

    1. Oh me too. Some seriously exciting books coming out! Especially the new Jonathan Stroud!

  5. I love Holly Black so I'm seriously excited for Doll Bones! Glad you had a great time at the brunch :)

  6. So many amazing books. Aww it sounds like you had a fab time :) Gutted I couldn't go... Tell me, why? why did I think moving to China was a good idea lol. All I can say is thank goodness for Netgalley! Great post :)

    1. Ha, I think a year living in China has its own benefits :) And all these books will be available when you get back anyway. And there is always netgalley...

  7. It sounds like you had a great time! I have only been to one reading event but it was amazing. This one sounds amazing :D Thanks for sharing all those books with us, they look awesome!

    1. You're very welcome Zoe, it was a fantastic day filled with lots of bookish talk :)

  8. So jealous! Sounds like you guys had an amazing time. I'm still waiting for my copy of the Helen Grant book to arrive - can't wait to read that one. :)

    1. Oh it looks good, doesn't it? And I think the actual cover is very pretty and shiny!

  9. Acid and Witchfall sound great! I love reading about these blogger events and getting to see what is coming up for some of the publishers!

    1. I do too. And I'm very much looking forward to both of those books as well :)

  10. Glad you had a fab time at the Brunch! I really can't wait to read ACID :D

  11. Fangirling because of Acid! I'm SO excited to read it! Sounds like you had an awesome time!

    1. I really did have a wonderful time! The women who work at Random House are all absolutely lovely and spoil us rotten :)


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