UKYA Extravaganza

So, after a month or so of waiting for it, and an amazingly epic blog tour, yesterday the UKYA Extravaganza finally happened in Birmingham.

I didn’t get off to the best start to the day. My little car died this week (RIP) and public transport is not my friend, but after one very slow bus, and an impressively quick walk/run to the train station and lots of directions from other people, I made it to the Birmingham High Street Waterstones.

(I should point out that I only live round the corner from Birmingham and it should not have been such a big thing. I know a lot of people travelled a lot further for it!)

As I am cursed with crippling shyness, I probably didn’t make the most of the event, but I’m just going to take baby steps for now and call it a success. I met Anna from Enchanted By YA which was great as we’ve spoken a fair bit online. I also met Georgina from Miss Chapter’s Reviews who was so friendly and easy to talk to, and helped me find cake, which is always good.

Author wise I got to meet Rachel Ward who I interviewed for the blog tour and it was great to meet her in person, and she also introduced me to Lucy from Queen of Contemporary, who leads the UKYAChats.

Money’s tight so I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but I couldn’t resist getting Sleepless by Lou Morgan so I could get it signed by her. We had a great chat and I can’t wait to read her book.

And I ended my time there chatting to Jim from YA Yeah Yeah and Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa who were both so friendly I wish I’d spoken to them earlier in the day.

There were plenty of bloggers and authors I wish I’d spoken to, but I think I did okay for my first event. As a reader and a writer I found the whole thing so inspiring: it’s amazing just being in a room with people who love books as much as you do, and I really can’t wait for the next event.

Book Review: Hansel and Gretel (Neil Gaiman)


Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 56
Release Date: December 11th 2014

Summary (From Goodreads):

The enduring story of the children, the breadcrumb trail and the gingerbread house is brought to life by master storyteller, Neil Gaiman. Who better to retell the Brothers Grimm’s greatest, and perhaps darkest, fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? Coupled with breathtakingly haunting illustrations from Lorenzo Mattotti, you will be enticed into the world and into the woods . . . so beware.


This is a lovely telling of the classic story of Hansel and Gretel. I’ve received a lot of fairytale books lately (including the complete works of the Brothers Grimm) and am really interested in the different tellings and they way they change over the years/author-author.

This story is classic Gaiman, beautifully told with dark undertones and some very creepy illustrations by Lorenzo Mattotti. I did enjoy the illustrations: they reminded me a little of those in A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. The style is similar, black and white, very dark and ‘messy’ looking (not in a bad way, it’s just the only word I can think to describe it – I’m not good with arty things!)

The reason I’ve only given three stars is because I was expecting something a little more. It really was just the story of Hansel and Gretel with no added darkness or twists, as I was expecting. It’s still a lovely story and I’ll be looking out for more of his fairytales, but I think with slightly lower expectations this time. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a well told fairy tale, but maybe look elsewhere if you’re after a more twisted tale.

(As a side note, there was also a page at the back with explained some of the origins of the story, which I found really interesting, as apparently during wartime people would sometimes be forced to eat other people or ‘lose’ children so there were less mouths to feed.)

My Verdict: