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Random House Children's Books Blogger Brunch.

Aka the tale of the Norfolk girl does London (and more impressively the tube) solo!

Two Saturdays ago I was lucky enough to attend a blogger brunch held by Random House Children's Books held in their Ealing office in London and I had the most fantastic day!

I got up at 5am to get on an early train to London. Norfolk has to have the worse transport network ever and it is a real bind if you want to try and leave it early or late in the day. Having never been to London on my own before I was petrified but it all went swimmingly well (which never happens - I have lost count of the number of times I have been left almost stranded at Liverpool Street Station.

I digress.... I arrived at Ealing Broadway Station and was met by a lovely bunch of bloggers. Caroline (potrait of a woman) had kindly agreed to meet us all to show us where we were going and so we didn't get lost.

We arrived at the offices and on our chairs were the most amazing good bags. It contained the books pictured below and a mug! As you can imagine there were lots of squealing and general noise of book induced excitment to be heard.


 Once we had all arrived the RHCB publicity team (who are all very glam may I add) did a run through of all the titles they have planned in the next few months. I have put links to goodreads where I can (thank you to the fab asamum for emailing me the list of titles together for me - I got too excited to take it all in - he was organised)

This is a collection of short stories that look lovely!
United under the banner of flash fiction, this is a collection of stories, or little 'cells', complete in themselves but connected by the overarching themes of betrayal and revenge. All featuring teenagers and often with an unexpected twist, these frighteningly realistic stories will take you to the very edge and beyond. From the master storyteller, Aidan Chambers, comes a collection of Stories of Defiance - moments in life, realizations, insights and sudden revelations - prepare to be amazed, enchanted and to gasp with shock.

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (April 2011)

This book looks a bit younger than what I normally read but I am told that it will definitely appeal and looks like it will be huge!

The first thrilling book in the most exciting children's fantasy series since Harry Potter and His Dark Materials.They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since. Ten years on, Kate, Michael and Emma have grown up in a string of miserable orphanages, and all memories of their parents have faded to a blur. Arriving at Cambridge Falls, the children quickly realise there is something different about this place – and Kate feels sure she has seen the dark, crooked house before. As they explore, they discover an old, empty leather book. The moment they touch it, an ancient magical prophecy is set irrevocably in motion, and the children are thrown into a dangerous alternate reality of dark enchantments and terrifying monsters. Only they can prevent the terrible event that will ruin Cambridge Falls – and stop the world from falling into complete devastation.

Long Lankin by Lindsay Barraclough  (April 2011)

I have just recently finished this and it is amazing - really creepy

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawaken an evil that has lain waiting for years.A haunting voice in an empty room ... A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ... A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton (May 2011)

There were many ohh and ahhs when this title was announced - Emma in particular was very excited!

For Nick Pardee and Silla Kennicot, the cemetery is the center of everything. Nick is a city boy angry at being forced to move back to the nowhere town of Yaleylah, Missouri where he grew up. He can’t help remembering his mom and the blood magic she practiced – memories he’s tried for five years to escape. Silla, though, doesn’t want to forget; her parents’ apparent murder-suicide left her numb and needing answers. When a book of magic spells in her dad’s handwriting appears on her doorstep, she sees her chance to unravel the mystery of their deaths. Together they plunge into the world of dark magic, but when a hundred-year-old blood witch comes hunting for the bones of Silla’s parents and the spell book, Nick and Silla will have to let go of everything they believe about who they are, the nature of life and death, and the deadly secrets that hide in blood.

Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley (June 2011)

This is a fairy title which I'm usually reluctant about. I've been told that in this case it is really good.

For Zaria Tourmaline, the three years without her mother and brother have been lonely ones, living with a cold and distant guardian while she completes her education. Just as she is ready to join the world of adult fairies and genies, she finds a spellbook written entirely in her mother’s hand. But this treasured object is not safe from a new enemy, a fairy with more power than Zaria ever dreamed existed. Only among the humans–who must never know fairies and genies exist–can Zaria hide the spellbook; but hidden magic, it turns out, can expose a fairy in ways she never thought possible.

 I literally cannot wait to get my hands on this!!
It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever. Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other. Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Killing Honour – Bali Rai (June 2011)

I've not read any of Bali's work but I've been told it is awesome. This sounds really gritting and awesome!

‘Honour,’ I repeated, wondering how such a small word could have caused so much trouble.When Sat's sister, Jas, is married off into the Atwal family she changes, she's quiet and distant. But Sat's too busy with his own life; his girlfriend, his friends, football . . . Then Jas disappears.According to her new husband, she's run off with another man. Her family disown her; don't seem to care if she's ever found. But Sat doesn't believe it. Something has happened to his sister and he's determined to figure out what. But his investigations take him into dark and dangerous territory . . . A powerful, hard-hitting teen thriller on the controversial topic of honour killing, by multi-award-winning author Bali Rai.

For The Record by Ellie Irving (June 2011)

This book sounds so cute!

Luke is a gifted but awkward ten-year-old who is obsessed with The Guinness Book of Records, and is nervous about starting senior school a year early as ‘the swot with the dead Dad'. When Luke’s tiny, unique Jersey village is in danger of being bulldozed to the ground to make way for a waste incinerator plant, the only way to stop it is by putting the village on the map: by breaking 50 world records in a week. With the help of geeky adjudicator Simon and a colourful cast of oddball village characters, this is Luke’s chance to shine, to solve his mum’s relationship problems, and to face his biggest fears – with bizarre, extraordinary consequences.

The Devil Walks by Anne Fine (June 2011)

This sounds incredibly creepy and I can't wait to get a copy to read

- 'The devil walks . . . But the devil can make no headway if he has no help. We must invite him in . . .' Raised in secrecy by a mother everyone thinks has gone mad, Daniel’s only link to his past is the intricately built model of the family home – High Gates. The dolls’ house is perfect in every detail. As Daniel is reunited with the last remaining member of his family - his ‘uncle’ Severin, who bears an uncanny resemblance to a sinister wooden doll he has found hidden in the house, he begins to suspect that this vicious, haunted puppet of a figure has a chilling influence, bringing cruelty and spite in its wake. Now Daniel's very life is at risk as his uncle is determined to get his hands on the figure . . . The menace builds throughout in this deliciously creepy Gothic tale.

In the Sea there are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (June 2011)

This sounds awesome and really sad. The publicity team tell me it is also quite uplifting!

One night before putting him to bed, Enaiatollah’s mother tells him three things: don’t use drugs, don’t use weapons, don’t steal. The next day he wakes up to find she isn’t there. They have fled their village in Ghazni to seek safety outside Afghanistan but his mother has decided to return home to her younger children. Ten-year-old Enaiatollah is left alone in Pakistan to fend for himself. In a book that takes a true story and shapes it into a beautiful piece of fiction, Italian novelist Fabio Geda describes Enaiatollah’s remarkable five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy where he finally managed to claim political asylum aged fifteen. His ordeal took him through Iran, Turkey and Greece, working on building sites in order to pay people-traffickers, and enduring the physical misery of dangerous border crossings squeezed into the false bottoms of lorries or trekking across inhospitable mountains. A series of almost implausible strokes of fortune enabled him to get to Turin, find help from an Italian family and meet Fabio Geda, with whom he became friends.
The result of their friendship is this unique book in which Enaiatollah’s engaging, moving voice is brilliantly captured by Geda’s subtle and simple storytelling. In Geda’s hands, Enaiatollah’s journey becomes a universal story of stoicism in the face of fear, and the search for a place where life is liveable.

Dearly Departed by Lia Habel (June 2011)

From the ruins of a cataclysmic ice-age a new society has emerged, based on Victorian customs. Nora Dearly, a feisty teenage girl and apparent orphant, leaves her exclusive boarding school for the holidays to return home - only to be dragged into the night by the living dead. Luckily for her, this particular crack unit of zombies are good guys - sent to protect her from the real nasties roaming the countryside and zeroing in on major cities to swell their ranks. Nora must find a way to defeat the evil undead with help from Bram, a noble, sweet and surprisingly hot zombie boy for whom she starts to fall...  pacy, bloodthirsty, hugely entertaining teen zombie novel with an unconventional but tender love story at its heart.

After the presentation the team took us to their offices and let us loose on their shelves. I managed to pick up some fantastic titles as pictured below

Once we'd finished raiding we went back down to their conference room where the team formally introduced Karen Mahoney and we had a mini celebration for the release of her book (with champagne and cake) and she signed copies for us!!

(Thank you to Sarah for letting me use this picture - I was rubbish and cameraless)

After the event a few of us ended up in a nearby pub after deciding we really didn't need to go book shopping where we chatted books until I had to leave and head back to Liverpool Street Station for my epic journey home.

All in all a fantastic day. I loved going to the RHCB offices and hearing about all the books and I loved meeting all the other fantastic bloggers and having a group to chat books with - I want to go again soon and spend time with all these lovely girlies (and Darren - a brave / lucky depending on how you looked at it man if ever there was one!)


Anonymous said…
Sounds like a fantastic day! I'd have been terrified going into London on my own. I've never been before =)
Mel said…
Wow - sounds like a fab day out - I'm jealous! :-)

There are some great sounding books there as well - can't wait to read Dearly Departed and The Devil Walks. Hope your review is up soon! :)
Sarah said…
It was so lovely to meet you Kirsty! Such a fun day too :o)
It was great to meet you. Hopefully the first of many times :D
It sounds like SUCH fun. Fantastic books coming out this year, lots I'm looking forward to and RH seems SO generous with their time and books. Love them. Wish you and I are able to meet up at some point!