Last week, I was very lucky to be involved to the launch party of The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge at Hot Key Books HQ. Now, it’s been a while since I’ve been to a Hot Key event (they’ve moved since I visited them last so off to a new building in a different side of London!) so off to London I go to celebrate this book with other bookish people.
I have to admit from the get go that I haven’t read the yet. In fact, I know very little about this as I wanted to go into this blind. All I knew was it’s a ghost story so it will have the chill factor. I like a good chiller read (but not horror. I hate horror!) and when I got to Hot Key, I was very much “Oh, am I the only one who hasn’t read this yet?”
Plus, all those lovely book bloggers pals of mine who have were going “Oh, Andrew, there’s a moment that will freak you out. The doll. The crows. The thuds!” and now I have no idea what to believe or to do a Joey from Friends and be near my freezer when I read this (which might be a mistake as I’ll be reading this on my Kindle and I am not sure it can handle the cold).
Anyway, turned up and got chatting to Olivia and Stephen from That Fiction Life and My Bookish Life respectively (which was bad as we fangirled over Deborah Harkness A Discovery of Witches, which I pushed onto Olivia and she’s now obsessed [my work here is done] and she’s wondering why I still haven’t read Vic James’s Guided Cage - more on that later!)
After a good few minutes gossiping, Hot Key introduced us to Rachel Burge, who chatted about what inspired her to write Twisted Tree, which was a nice, dark mix of crows, Tarot, ghosts and Norse mythology (mainly Odin, the Norns [three female beings who rule the destiny of gods and men - elsewhere in European mythology, they would be known as the Fates, but the Norns are quite different to the Fates] and Hel). After that, Rachel was brave enough to read an extract for us - and it took every ounce of will power not to scare Olivia and Stephen at the tensest, quietest moment of the extract (I’m not sure if I was a monster for wanting to do it or for not doing it. Just think of the reaction the whole room of book bloggers would have been if I had!)
And after that, Rachel introduced a good friend of hers, Maddy Elruna. Maddy is a seidr/norse practitioner and a Tarot card reader, and she explained a little about what tarot is. And of course, I made no notes whatsoever so I can’t explain it properly. But it’s not a tool to predict, but - hang on, let me see if I understand/amr emembering this right - a way to interpret a situation or intention of the reading, to become more in-tune with yourself. (If i have got that wrong, sorry dear tarot readers. Please forgive my ignorance/awful memory!)
After this, we bloggers and vloggers got chatting, drinking wine and eating cupcakes. I was driving that evening so apple juice for me, but in a wine glass so pretending it was wine. SHHH!!! I think I saw Layla from Readable Life and said hi very briefly to Sanne from BooksandQuills (who I still get a little starstruck over meeting. You would think I would be better at saying hi to people and not going either super-shy or super-loud to hide my book blogger imposter-feeling after doing this for nearly 9 years and being 30-something years old? nope!). But I did chat to Rachel from Rachel from Rachel’s Rambling Reviews (we talk a lot of Twitter) and chatted about the Throne of Glass series with Nicola of Fantastic Book Dragon (both who think I should try again with Throne of Glass. We shall see…). Then, chatted to Dani from Dani Reviews Things and she read early drafts of Twisted Tree and was going “It will freak you out, Andrew! You are a wuss and this book will freak you out!!!”. We, also, said we might try and buddy-read Guided Cage as we feared Olivia’s wrath if we didn’t attempt to start this book before the end of the year…
After this chat, a few of us decided to go into a side room where Maddy was giving a tarot reading with several other bloggers. It was a three card spread and could either ask a question or just receive a general reading. We all went for general. It was interesting seeing the cards being pulled for each person and their meanings. Though it was super weird when the person before me (the lovely Faye from A Daydreamer's Thoughts and FayeRogers.co.uk) and myself had the same cards pulled out in the same order. This kinda freaked me out and I kinda blocked out what the meaning of the cards were, but I think they were saying I need a better balance between work and relaxing. Or to stop worrying. I can’t exactly remember which, but both feel right to me. And I am trying - till I looked at my credit card statement and went to work the following day (nervously laughter to hide the panic in my chest).
We were also asked to pull a card from the table which we could keep. After taking a long time deciding, I gingerly pulled a card and didn’t look at it till after I left the room and was chatting to Olivia, Dani and Stephen about the readings and the meaning of the cards we took. Mine was, after going “I’m not sure I want to know” was Knight of Pentacles. Which is a dependable card or character and that preparation is called for, take your time and prepare, prepare, prepare. And after that, chatted to three new bloggers I've not met before - Imi from Imi Reviews Books (who made Olivia scream over Discovery of Witches news and then tried to make me a fan of Vampire Diaries and the first few seasons of Supernatural), Alex from Library of Books and Tea and Beth from The Books Are Everywhere, both of whom are Hufflepuffs and WE ARE THE BEST HOGWARTS HOUSE!!!
Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to fully chat to the author, Rachel Burge (though she sounded like a really nice person to chat about!) and, after that, went on our merry way home. Like I said, I had to drive so I didn’t get home till quite late. But it was a fun evening, so my thanks goes to Hot Key Books, Rachel and Maddy for a lovely evening, and to all the book bloggers who I did/didn’t chat to! We must meet up soon!!!
View this post on InstagramSneak Peek of Rachel Burge Reading #TwistedTree. It took every ounce of self-control to not, when Rachel read the creepiest moment to go “ARGH!” at @olivia_gacka & @stephenchaskins who was sitting in front of me... (this sounds like a chiller read so am ready for that!) . . . #bookworm #booklion #bibliophile #gayblogger #bookporn #book #booknerd #bookaholic #bloggeruk #booksofinstagram #books #toberead #bookstagram #booklove #booklover #books📚 #bookblogger #bookdragon #ukblogger #pewterwolf #bookblog #bookgeek #pewterwolf #twistedtree #rachelBurge #hotkeybooks #thud #extract #boo