The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

YALC 2016, a ginormous book haul, and a 1-year-blogiversary!

on August 9, 2016

HAPPY AUGUST, guys! Hope yours has been sunny so far.

Guess what?! The Mud and Stars Book Blog is officially ONE YEAR OLD!!!!

I’ve enjoyed every minute of my first year of blogging, and I couldn’t have done it without all the wonderful people in this darn beautiful community.


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I started my blog after attending YALC last year (Young Adult Literature Convention at London Film and Comic Con), and this year I celebrated my blogiversary at the very same convention!

Guys, I just had the BEST time at YALC 2016. It was three days of being surrounded by ALL THE BOOKISH PEOPLE, watching awesome panels, and meeting some amazing authors. Oh, and hauling a miniature-library’s worth of books, which I may or may not have struggled to carry home, and which may or may not have condemned me to some kind of future chronic back problem.

Sadly, I had to leave early on the Friday (the first day of the convention) because I had a migraine, and this was especially gutting because I had to drop out of the queue to meet Victoria Schwab (whose book I had just finished and fallen all kinds of in love with).

Amazingly, despite missing out on meeting her the first day, I bumped into her whilst wandering around on Saturday, and although I didn’t have my new copy of This Savage Song for her to sign, I got this photo with her and chatted with her for a while. She was SO LOVELY!


Saturday was an awesome day all round because not only did I meet V E Schwab, but I also met Sophie Kinsella, aka one of my all time favourite authors. I have loved her Shopaholic series since I started reading them about 13 years ago, and I’m SO HAPPY to have met Sophie so I could tell her how much I adore her books, and get my (well-loved) copy of the first one signed.

This sounds lame and fangirly but I was also really excited when Sophie said she liked my handbag; the reason I bought a Kate Spade NY handbag in the first place was because her character Becky does in the second Shopaholic book, and it has been #goals for me ever since.


There were tons of amazing panels at YALC, but my absolute favourite was the panel on ‘Friendship in YA’ with Holly Bourne, Sara Manning, and Sara Barnard. It was so refreshing to hear friendship championed over romance, and I loved what one of the authors (I believe it was Holly) said: that you can find your soul mate as a teenager, because your best friends are your true soul mates. Holly also told some hilarious stories about her own group of friends, including her best mate thinking ‘Buzz Lightyear’ was the first man on the moon.

I hauled A LOT of books at YALC, because there were so many awesome publisher stalls and I have no will power:

The Creeper Man – Dawn Kurtagich


I’ve been wanting to read Dawn’s books for a long time, because I LOVE me some creepy. I’ve also seen Dawn speak at a couple of events and just think she’s all kinds of awesome. I was lucky enough to meet her and have my copy signed. Dawn was lovely, and spent ages chatting to me about House of Leaves (a mahoosive creepy book on my TBR). She was also giving away free cookies, which always endears me to a person.


Dark Room – Tom Becker


Another YA horror! This one’s all about a serial killer who preys on selfie-obsessed beautiful people. I’m reading this one at the moment, and really enjoying it, although I’d say it’s more of a murder mystery than a horror, and not very scary. I have no idea who’s killing all the teens though, so the author is all kinds of clever imo.

The Yellow Room – Jess Vallance


I know very little about this book, other than it’s supposed to be both creepy and funny, YA author Lisa Williamson recommended it (which is why I bought it) and the author has a name reserved for awesome people only.

The Leaving – Tara Altebrando


AMAZING CONCEPT: Six kids go missing. Years later, five come back. None of them can remember anything… DAMN, doesn’t that sound intriguing?! I can’t wait to read this one.

Whisper to Me – Nick Lake


This is a contemporary YA novel, written in letters from a girl who hears voices to a boy who she ‘wronged’ in some way the previous summer. The cover is so BEAUTIFUL, and I have made plans to fall in love with this book, if you must know.

Because You’ll Never Meet Me – Leah Thomas


I only really picked this one up because of a 3 for £10 offer, BUT this is another GLORIOUS cover, and I just couldn’t resist tbh. It’s about these two boys who write each other letters, and they can never meet because one’s allergic to electricity and the other has a pacemaker. Intrigued enough to give this one a go!

Needlework – Deirdre Sullivan


This book was recommended by Sarah Crossan on one of the panels I watched – I believe it’s about abuse of some kind, which is apparently very sensitively handled, and features a protagonist who wants to be a tattoo artist, which also sounds really interesting.

Beautiful Broken Things – Sara Barnard


After Sara’s amazing panel on friendship in YA, I had to pick this book up ASAP. Firstly, what a gorgeous cover! Secondly, this book focuses on FEMALE FRIENDSHIP and not ROMANCE. *Bows down in worship*

You Know Me Well – Nina LaCour and David Levithan


I’ve enjoyed several of David Levithan’s books, and although I haven’t read any of Nina LaCour’s, she seemed so lovely IRL when the two authors were discussing their collaboration, and you know when you just want to read someone’s book because you feel like it must be good based on their personality? THAT. It’s been a while since I read any LGBT YA so I’m really excited to start this one.

Kook – Chris Vick


This book was a freebie in the YALC goodie bag! I think it’s contemporary romance, it’s set in Cornwall, and it involves surfing? I probably wouldn’t have picked it up independently, but I think this will be a great holiday read for me next week when I’m sunning myself in France.

This Savage Song – V.E. Schwab


I’m so excited to read this in a very squealy way! I just finished A Darker Shade of Magic, and V.E. Schwab’s writing style (and imagination) impressed me SO MUCH. I’m going to savour this one, and read it when I have lots of time to get lost in it.

Nothing Tastes as Good – Claire Hennessy


This one sounds fabulous: a girl, obsessed with calorie-counting in life, becomes a spirit guide for an overweight girl when she dies… only to realise that maybe she had it all wrong in life, and you don’t need to be thin in order to be happy. Such an awesome, original concept – can’t wait to get stuck into this one.

A Thousand Nights – E.K. Johnston


This is a retelling of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, and it has the prettiest cover OMG. I still haven’t read The Wrath and The Dawn (another retelling of the same story), but I’ve actually heard better things about this one, so this is top of my list.

So that’s a wrap for July! Which beautiful books did you guys haul this month? And did you attend any conventions or bookish events? If so, I hope you had as fabulous a time as a I did.


23 responses to “YALC 2016, a ginormous book haul, and a 1-year-blogiversary!

  1. cassidygott says:

    Happy Blogiversary! It looks like you had an amazing time at YALC 🙂

  2. Michelle says:

    This looked like loads of fun, I’m jealous 😛 Congrats on one year, here’s to many more🎈

  3. happy first year!! Great haul! 🙂

  4. Ahhhhh looks like you had an amazing time!!! Aside from the whole migraine thing… It’s so awesome that you got to meet Schwab!!! It was fate!

    • mudandstars says:

      I did indeed 🙂 I think you might be right about the fate thing – I was soooo disappointed when I had to drop out of that queue – I was so lucky to bump into her, and she was lovely enough to stop for a chat 🙂

  5. Happy Blogiversary Jess! You’ve made such an impact in a year. 🙂 YAY for YALC round up, too. Looks like you had a great time and got a brilliant haul as well. 🙂 I’m definitely in the market for some more YA horror, so I’ll be on the look out for your reviews of those. ‘Because You’ll Never Meet Me’ is really good – I read it a few months ago and was very pleasantly surprised. Not because I expected it to be bad, but because it was so touching. 🙂 Cover is glorious, too! Hope you enjoy. 🙂 x

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you Sammie! 🙂 I did indeed have an amazing time – hope you did too! I haven’t read loads of YA horror, but if you’re looking out for that type of thing, Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell was a good one! And, it’s more dystopian than horror, but Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series was pretty creepy! Have you read any good YA horror recently? Oooh I’m glad that you enjoyed ‘Because You’ll Never Meet Me’ – I’m really excited to read it now, and I’m taking it on holiday with me tomorrow! 🙂 x

    • mudandstars says:

      Ahhh I accidentally deleted your comment! 😦 and I can’t work out how to get it back! But what I was going to say was that if you do have any horror recs, I’d love to hear them! I’m kind of a newbie to the genre really, but I really enjoy creepy stuff. Another one I remember enjoying was ‘Dark Matter’ by Michelle Paver – it’s not YA, but a good creepy read! And it’s not technically horror, more of a dark thriller, but I’m really obsessed with ‘Night Film’ by Marisha Pessl and want to make everyone I know read it haha! xx

  6. YALC looked awesome! AND CONGRATS ON ONE YEAR!! *hugs*

  7. Michelle says:

    HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY! On to many more years! 🙂 Sounds like you had an amazing time at YALC. It’s so cool that you got to meet V.E. Schwab after all 🙂

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂 I did indeed have an awesome time at YALC. Can’t wait to go again next year. And yess I was so excited when I bumped into her – I was so gutted that I’d had to drop out of that queue!

  8. Lectito says:

    Happy blogiversary!! Some amazing titles here (I’ve added a bunch to my TBR). I read The Leaving a little while back and LOVED it. Very clever. Full of twists and turns!

  9. Nikita @The utter and complete bookworm says:

    Happy Blogiversary! 🙂
    YALC sounds amazing! You’re sooooo lucky you got to meet those authors and acquire all those books! I hope to attend that someday.
    Enjoy reading those books!

  10. […] Jess at The Mud and Stars Book Blog […]

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