My Awesome August Book Haul

Hello everyone!

It’s almost the weekend-yay! Today I’m going to share my book haul (I don’t know why, but I seem to prefer writing these midway through the month instead of at the end 😂❤). If I get any post during the rest of month, it’ll pop up in my September haul 😊

My book haul is, as usual, quite big, so let’s dive in!

 BOOKS I’VE READ ALREADY

I won’t go into too much detail about these ones, as I’ll be speaking about them in my August Reviews in a few weeks 😊

  • THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY- I won a copy of this on Twitter, in a giveaway ran by Laura. I’ve been desperate to read it since I saw the announcement for it and I dropped everything to read it as soon as it arrived! It was definitely worth it too, it was fabulous…
  • GASLIGHT- I received a copy of this from Firefly Press, and I read it right at the beginning of the month and enjoyed it.
  • SIMPLY THE QUEST- I bought this at my trip to Waterstones last week and I read it last weekend as it’s been one of my most anticipated reads of the summer. It was even better than the first book, and I’m excited for the 3rd already.
  • QUEST- I’ve not read all of this, but I’ve read quite a few stories for an exciting guest post with my friend Louise.
  • THE GUGGENHEIM MYSTERY and FRESHERS I’ve read in the past few days, and I loved both of them a huge amount! (Huge thanks to the lovely Jess for sending me Freshers!)

WATERSTONES HAUL

As well as Simply the Quest, I ordered in a few other books I really wanted; The Secret of Supernatural Creek (it has been a LONG 4 years since the last Laura Marlin Mystery, but I want to wait and reread the White Giraffe series and previous Laura Marlins before I read this), A Change is Gonna Come anthology (made up of BAME authors, published by Stripes) and The Starman and Me, which I’ll admit I wanted because of the beautiful cover. 

My next choices, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and Another Place by Matthew Crow, are books I mainly bought as I’ve hear a lot of positive comments about them on other blogs. I’m really hoping I’ll enjoy them as much as others have 🙂

I picked up a classic this month too as I really want to get back into reading them. This looks utterly adorable from the bit I read in the shop, and I’m very excited to get to it!

Lastly, I picked up the Children’s Book of the Month: A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan. It looks really interesting and I’ve heard it has mystery elements, so it’s super high on my TBR!

LIBRARY 

I’ve had a few visits to the library this month, and I’ve came home with lots of books each time (hence why I have more books than I’m actually meant to on my card, oopsies 🙈)

These are the books that I had to order in from other branches, and I’m super pleased I was able to get these from the library. I love these authors’ other books, and I’m particularly excited about the Starlight Barking as I totally adore of the One Hundred and One Dalmatians and I only just learned this existed a few weeks ago 😍 

I also picked up a few books based on blurbs, and in one case, a cover so stunning I couldn’t leave it on the shelf (I’m looking at you Chasing the Stars!). I’m hoping these end up being as good as they sound.

RECIEVED

I was lucky enough to receive a few books this month, both from publishers, giveaways and one from a friend.

Along with Gaslight, Firefly also sent me a few of their other titles, which I’m really grateful for.  All of these sound fantastic; I’m hoping (pun intended) to get round to all of them soon, particularly Hope, as it has a hospital setting and it’s had amazing reviews so far.

I also recieved a copy of The Disappearences from Pushkin Press. This sounds really interesting, and I’m excited to read it!

I was super excited when I won a giveaway for these books on Twitter. I’ve wanted to read them for ages and just never got round to buying them, but now I have copies I really want to read them as soon as I possibly can.

Finally, my friend Louise sent me a copy of When We Collided by Emery Lord s i loved her other books so much!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear what books you’ve added to your TBR this month or which of mine you think I should start with in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Review: Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington 

Hello everybody!

Today I’m reviewing Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington, which I feel very lucky to have received for review, seeing that the Secret Cooking Club was one of my favourite books of 2016! Let’s get on to the review!

The book, and Bella the Bear (the bookmark 😊)

*I received a copy of this book from Chicken House in exchange for my honest review*

In her second book, Laurel Remington continues the story of Scarlett, a young girl who loves to bake and whose mum is a career blogger. In this book, Scarlett’s mum is getting married (I won’t say to who in case you’ve not read The Secret Cooking Club), and the plot follows Scarlett navigating how this will change her life. Her mum, who is slightly obsessed with fame, has also insisted that the run up to the wedding, Scarlett making her cake, and the wedding itself is filmed for a TV show.

Confetti and Cake is a really lovely book. The writing style is fast-paced and very easy to read, and the plot moves along quickly (I’d actually have liked some of the plotlines to last a little longer, such as Scarlett ‘s best friend Violet’s issue with adjusting to life without her parents who have died in a car crash). In terms if the writing, I also loved the descriptions, especially in the baking scenes! I don’t even like cakes and my mouth was watering after reading this. If you, like me, aren’t planning to watch the Channel 4 version of the Great British Bake Off, I would seriously getting copies of this series to plug the gap!

Another reason why I adored these scenes is that we got to see the other members of the Secret Cooking Club (which Scarlett set up in the previous book, and in simple terms is  a group of people who get together to cook and bake). I didn’t feel like some of the original members like Gretchen or Alison were just as prominent in this book, but I loved getting to know Violet and Nick better, and getting to see how the dynamics of the group changed with some new additions such as Fraser.

The book deals with some interesting issues too. It explores Scarlett’s difficulty understanding her mum’s attitude to fame, Scarlett’s newfound fame as ‘The Little Cook’ blog and her struggles with that (I personally especially enjoyed seeing her grapple with how it changed her friendships with some of the original members of the Secret Cooking Club) and also Scarlett’s troubled relationship with her dad, who has came back into her life, and her being unsure of whether to forgive him for leaving in the first place.

Finally, I liked the ending a lot as it neatly wrapped up all of the plot lines, left me with a really happy, cosy feeling, and left it open to having a 3rd book, which I’ve already got my fingers crossed for. I have a great time spending time in Scarlett’s world and I’d love to see more books featuring her and the rest of the club!

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read this book? Would you like to after this review? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

Hello everybody!

Hope you’ve all had a fabulous weekend 😊. Today I’m taking part in the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag, for which I was tagged by Meri from Life Stained Pages. 

Let’s just ignore the fact that I’m technically 2 months late in doing this, please 🙈

On with the tag!

1. Favourite book of 2017 so far–  I’ve read some amazing books this year, and I have a whole host of favourites. One that sticks out is Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth. VERY few books make me cry. This managed it several times over, and I couldn‘t have been more blown away by it‘s absolute brilliance in general. If you havent read it, I can‘t recommend it highly enough!

2. Favourite sequelSome sequels which have really impressed me this year are Beetle Queen by M.G Leonard (I’ve finished both of these in one sitting, and I couldn’t be more excited about the 3rd book coming out next year), Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington (look out for my review of this soon!) And Forever Geek by Holly Smale.  I’ve just read Simply the Quest by Maz Evans over the weekend too, and it’s also a superb sequel.

3. Recent release you haven’t read yet and want to- Too many! I’m especially excited for Chris Russell’s Songs About Us and the Secrets of Supernatural Creek by Lauren St John (it has been a LONG 4 years since the last Laura Marlin Msytery, but I want to wait until I have time to reread both the White Giraffe series and the other Laura Marlin books). Also, Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais and Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter

4. Most Anticipated Release for the 2nd Half of 2017- I’m looking forward to quite a few, but I’ve had my eye on The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud and Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend for AGES.

5. Most Disappointing Book of the Year- I’m a pretty big Sarah Mlyknowski fan, so I was devastated by how much I disliked her newest release, The Girls’ Guide to Summer. I actually found it so bad I didn’t finish it, and I’m now unsure about whether I’ll bother with any of her other new releases after this. I honestly can’t think of a single thing I enjoyed about this book.

6. Biggest Surprise– I was so pleasantly surprised by Girl Out of Water by Nat Luurtesma! It’s the closest thing in humour I’ve ever read to Geek Girl (I think I’ve made it pretty clear how much I love Geek Girl), and I’m unbelievably excited to read the sequel next summer 🌞

7. Favourite new author- the best debuts I’ve read this year have been jaw-dropping levels of amazingness, and they are Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren (I don’t want to say too much about this yet, as it isn’t out until September, but it’s so original/clever/phenomenal) and Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth. 

Both of these authors are definetely new favourites of mine, and if their debuts are anything to go by, I’ll never stop reading their works! I Was also lucky enough to win a proof copy of A 2018 book by Laura Steven called the Exact Opposite of Okay, which I couldn’t have loved more! Laura is lovely too, so she is also a new favourite author of mine.

8. Newest fictional crush- I don’t really go in for these too much, but I do have a soft spot for Étienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I also loved Max from The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord, and Jones from The Names They Gave Us, by the same author.

9. Newest favourite character–  I love a lot of characters! Some particular favourites this year include Noah from Noah Can’t Even, Alex from See You in the Cosmos, Elliot from Who Let the Gods Out, Wing from Wing Jones and Izzy from the Exact Opposite of Okay. I adore so many more though, these are just a couple!

10.  Books that made you cry- Im not a big crier. As above, Running on the Roof of the World managed it, and I was tearful at a few points of the Exact Opposite of Okay too. I also cried at a certain part of the Start of Me and You. I sobbed while reading Forever Geek as well, as I was so sad about the series being over. The end pages of The Hate U Give also made me cry a little bit.
11. Book that Made You Happy- I feel like I’ve already mentioned most of the books that have made me really happy this year! Don’t want to keep naming the same books over and over 😂

12. Favoutite Book to Movie Adaptation- I can’t actually remember seeing any this year.

13.  Favourite Review of 2017 – I’m proud of all my reviews, mainly. I loved writing one for Running on the Roof of the World though, as I couldn’t heap the praise it deserves on it if I live to be a thousand. I think I’ll feel similarly with my reviews for Prisoner of Ice and Snow and Exact Opposite of Okay. 

14. Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought this Year- This one is hard! I picked up Emery Lord because of her covers, which I’m really pleased about. I also bought Sea by Sarah Driver partly for the cover, but I didn’t love it, so I slightly regret that one. I’ve not read it yet, but Alice Broadway’s Ink was also choose from the cover! I buy based on covers more than I should… 😂

15. Books You Need to Read by the End of the Year- I have, like most bookish people I know, got a slightly out of control TBR. I need to read as much of that as possible, and I’d also like to slot in some rereading of favourite books like the 39 Clues series, Pony Club Secrets series and Lauren St John’s 2 middle grade series. I’d also like to read some more children’s classics. Some particular priorities are the Wolves of Willoughby Chase, The Starlight Barking and Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you’ve enjoyed the post. I’m tagging my friend Louise from Book Murmuration! Id love to hear about some of your favourites of the year so far in the comments! 

Amy xxx

Author Interview: Jess Butterworth 

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome another author for a Q&A; the incredible Jess Butterworth, whose stunning debut Running on the Roof of the World I absolutely adored (you can read my review in this post). Onto the questions!

Hi Jess. Welcome to Golden Books Girl, and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me!

My pleasure! I’m delighted to be here.

1. To start off, can you sum up Running on the Roof the World for anyone who hasn`t read it yet in 5 words?

Contemporary Himalayan adventure, featuring yaks!

2. I absolutely loved the setting of Tibet in the book. What inspired you to set the book there? Is anything in the book based on your own experience of living in the Himalayas?

Absolutely. My father was a trek leader and we lived on a remote foothill above Dharamshala, where the Dalai Lama and a Tibetan community in exile is settled. My mother’s family lived in London, where I was born. Growing up, I would always write about the Himalayas when I was in the UK and missing the mountains or my dad and grandparents who still lived there.

I wanted to introduce readers to events I care about deeply, but really it wasn’t as planned out as that. Tash’s voice appeared in my head one day and wouldn’t leave.

The vulture tree is based on a tree I saw about ten years ago, with many vultures perched on its branches. It’s something I’ve never seen again on my visits since, and an image that has stayed with me.

Another real life moment I drew from was when my sister and I once walked down the mountain at dusk and saw a bear up a tree. Needless to say, we backed away slowly and luckily left the bear undisturbed. My sister is a singer and from that moment onwards she would always sing at the top of her lungs as we walked over the foothills. We were taught never to sneak up on the leopards and bears; you’re safer if they can hear you coming and will choose to get out of the way.

The glacier scene came from a time I was trekking with my Dad and we camped by a glacier. Later, we used our sleeping mats to slide down the glacier. It was fun, but bumpy!

During my research trip, when I was close to the India/Tibet border, after acclimatising, I went up to 18380 feet, and very much felt the effects of being at such a high altitude. So that made it into the book too!

3. The difficult political issues in Tibet are very prominent throughout Running on the Roof of the World, as Tash`s parents are arrested by the Chinese soldiers for being rebels. Was it a challenge to explore such a brutal situation and still aim the book at middle grade readers?

I definitely spent time making sure that the book was truthful to its setting whilst still appealing to middle-grade readers. I wanted to write a story that was relevant to today and it was important to me to include those moments as they’re grounded in real events. Writing in first person helped and allowed the reader to see the events through Tash’s eyes, whilst still giving a sense of the bigger political picture. I included moments of lightness and laughter, and an overall theme of hope, and I focused on the universal aspects to make it relatable to younger readers.

4. What was your favourite scene to write in the book?
So many! I loved everything about writing about the mountains! Sliding down glaciers was one of my favourite, hiding with Eve, and the ending.

5. Speaking of writing, do you have any unusual writing habits? What are your writing routines like?

In the past few years, I’ve had many different jobs at the same time as being a writer, from working as a bid-coordinator, assisting in a vintage furniture shop, to nannying. In between them I was often travelling to and from India which means that my writing habits changed regularly. They mainly consisted of writing wherever and whenever I could! I do know that I work best in the mornings, when I can wake up and write straight away. I like to start a new idea in a notebook before transferring it to my computer.

Right now, for the first time ever, I have an office and office assistants, Luna and Bo Bo, the Maine Coon kittens, which is exciting.

IMG_20170727_201951IMG_20170727_201942IMG_20170727_201947

6.  Do you have any tips or advice for writers reading this interview?

Read as much as you can. If you’re stuck for inspiration, think back to the things you loved doing at the age at your protagonist or the things you feel passionately about. So much of writing is re-writing; Running on the Roof of the World ent through at least ten full drafts. Practice patience; everything takes a long time! Most importantly, don’t give up! Everyone has rejections.

7. What other activities do you enjoy apart from writing?

Trekking, dancing, reading, camping and being outside, being with friends, yoga, watching live music, travelling.

8. What has been your  exciting moment of being an author so far?
The book launch for sure! I got to see it in a Waterstones window display and gave my first public reading.

9.  If you could have written any book by another author, what would it be and why?
Matilda by Roald Dahl because it has remained one of my favourite books.

10. Finally, before we go on to the quickfire questions, are you able to say anything about your next book? I can`t wait to read it after your amazing debut!

Aw, thank you! It’s called When the Mountains Roared and is inspired by my Grandma who smuggled a kangaroo joey out of Australia. It’s an adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers.

QUICKFIRE

Can you give us three random facts about you?-

In the Australian outback, I got bitten by a brown snake and airlifted to hospital.

I have three younger sisters.

I edited Running on the Roof of the World while I was in India, during monsoon. I was often enclosed in a cloud. If I opened a window, the cloud would drift inside. My pillow went mouldy.

Favourite animal?-

Yaks and leopards (couldn’t choose!)

Favourite chocolate bar?-

Yesterday someone gave me pomegranate dark chocolate and it is my new favourite thing!

What`s your Hogwarts house?-

Gryffindor

Best book you`ve read this year?

The Huntress: Sea by Sarah Driver

img_2272

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed writing the questions and organising the post with Jess, who has been an utter delight (and was kind enough to send me the gorgeous photos throughout the post to use)

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Blog Tour: Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington

Hello everybody!

Today I’m really excited to share a guest post from Laurel Remington, author of The Secret Cooking Club and Confetti and Cake. Thank you so much to Jazz at Chicken House for allowing me to be part of the blog tour for the book. If you’d like to chdck out the other posts, here’s where to find them 😊

Over to Laurel!

I’m delighted that my second book with Chicken House, The Secret Cooking Club: Confetti & Cake, was published last week. The book is a sequel to The Secret Cooking Club, my debut children’s novel, and winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2015.

Confetti & Cake is a standalone book, but for those who read the first book, it follows the further adventures of Scarlett, her mum, and her friends who are members of The Secret Cooking Club. In this book, Scarlett now has her own blog and runs The Secret Cooking Club Online, and her mum’s ‘tell-all’ blog that used to embarrass Scarlett has been turned into an inspirational blog for parents.

It was interesting to explore how Scarlett’s life has been transformed on the outside – to the world, she is a confident young girl with a vibrant personality and a bold online presence – whereas in reality, she is still a little shy and has a lot of self doubts. In other words, no matter what her social media presence says about her, in real life she is a normal girl.

In a way, I lived a little bit of what Scarlett experienced over the last year since The Secret Cooking Club was published. I had the privilege of getting to meet a lot of young readers during school visits. They made me feel very welcome, and almost like a celebrity sometimes! But giving a talk in front of so many young people was a bit daunting, especially at first. I suppose it’s because children are generally a lot more honest than adults, and haven’t had all the years of experience learning to hide their feelings. That’s what makes it so exciting to write for young readers. They definitely keep you on your toes!

I hope that Scarlett’s situation may help other young people to see that it’s what’s on the inside that counts, not what someone may broadcast to the world on social media. It’s easy to look on Facebook and Twitter and imagine that everyone else is living the perfect life – and maybe feel a little bit bad about ourselves as a result. Scarlett has a bit of the opposite dilemma – after building herself up as The Little Cook and inspiring others, she secretly wants them to know that she still has problems too, and is just like them. In today’s world, sometimes we can feel like we have a split personality – online and real life. Scarlett learns that at the end of the day, it’s a luxury to be able to tell the truth and be herself.

Laurel Remingtons new book, Confetti & Cake, is out now. Laurels first childrens book, The Secret Cooking Club, was the winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2015, and has inspired many young readers to try their hand at cooking and baking. She lives in Surrey, UK with her partner and three daughters.

Thank you all so much for reading everyone! I’d love to hear what you think of Laurel’s books if you’ve read them, and also just for fun, your favourite cake/biscuits! Personally I don’t like cake, but I’m partial to a choc chip cookie or a Bourbon 😊. Let me know yours in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

Amy xxx

July Reviews

Hello everybody!

Today I`m planning to share my reviews for all of the books I read last month. I was on holiday in Northumberland for most of the month (as you'll probably know if you follow me on Twitter) which meant I got a lot of reading done.

I actually read a bit more than what Im including here, but I sadly didn't really enjoy the others I read enough to recommend them.

Let`s get on with the reviews!

Continue reading “July Reviews”

My Dream Reading Room

Hello everyone! 
Last week, I saw a post by Jess from Bookends and Endings talking about her dream reading room, and I absolutely loved her post, so when she suggested in her reply to my comment that I gave it a go too, I immediately started thinking up my own ideas. (My lovely friend Louise over at also Book Murmuration also wrote a post about this a Little while ago)

Let’s get started!

Continue reading “My Dream Reading Room”