Reviews: What’s Your Favourite Colour?

Hello everybody! Today, I have another set of reviews for you all and I’m so excited about these ones, which all have colours in their titles. I had an amazing time reading them all, and there may be another edition of this too as I sadly had to leave some books that fit the theme out as I ran out of time to read them all before this post was due up. Anyway, enough rambling from me, onto the post!

Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis

Lia Louis’s social media is absolutely on point and I’ve wanted to read her books since the day I found her online, but it’s taken me till 2021, and I’m going to be kicking myself for that for a very long time. In less rambly language, I absolutely loved this book and I wish I’d read it sooner, because I’m going to treasure its words and Emmie’s story forever. This is the story of a woman named Emmie Blue, who experienced trauma and sexual assault at a school dance, who is in love with her long time, long distance best friend Lucas, who lives in Frane and found a message she’d put in a balloon long ago. The only issue is that he has absolutely no clue, and as such, has just got engaged to someone else, with plans to have Emmie as his best woman. Emmie is such a wonderful character and although our specific situations were very different in that mine wasn’t sexual assault, I found some of her feelings about her past and the idea of returning to where her trauma took place frighteningly relatable and I just wanted to be best friends with her (especially as she’s so willing to take loads of Instagram photos!!). The side characters were amazing too; I think you’re supposed to half love and half loathe Lucas, Elliott is dreamy and one of the best fictional men I’ve read lately (who doesn’t love a boy who loves indie music??), Rosie and Fox are legends in their own right AND excellent friends to Emmie, and the antagonists are all utterly detestable. Basically, if you want to read about someone who’s been through something horrific finding some much deserved joy, read this. It made me laugh and cry and I can’t wait to read it again, as well as picking up Lia’s other books.

Tumble and Blue by Cassie Beasley

Given my love for the Circus Mirandus books, I expected to enjoy this, but I didn’t expect for it to be even better than Micah’s story, and one of my very favourite middle grade books of the year. The plot is quite difficult to explain, but it’s basically about a boy named Blue, whose family are all cursed and competing for a new fate, handed out once every hundred years by a golden alligator named Munch, and how his life changes forever when Tumble Wilson moves in next door. Blue and Tumble are both ridiculously lovable characters, particularly as they’re kind of both underdogs (Blue is literally cursed to lose constantly, and disaster seems to follow Tumble around), yet go out of their ways to be brave and help others, and the supporting cast are an absolute delight. Blue’s family is full of wild and wacky people, all desperate to find Munch, and some of my favourites were lovely, sensible Granny Eve; her polar opposite mother Ma Myrtle and of course Howard and the twins. The plot wasn’t like anything I’ve ever read before, really, and I was totally hooked, and something I especially loved about the narrative were the chapters from Munch’s point of view. This is just so original and clever and quirky, and it’s one of those books you read and wish you could discover for the first time again, or possibly that you were a good enough writer to have written it.

Eva Evergreen: Semi Magical Witch by Eva Evergreen

This has been on my TBR since it was released, and after devouring it over the course of a day where I was feeling pretty ill, I can confirm it’s every bit as lovely as the blurb and comp titles make it sound. It reminded me a lot of the Apprentice Witch by James Nicol, as it follows a young witch named Eva being sent to a small town named Auteri to help the people who live there, in order to gain the rank of novice witch. Eva is an absolutely wonderful heroine, and the people she meets in Auteri were just such a great supporting cast. I loved guarded, but incredibly kind Charlotte; supportive, sweet Davy; the rather scary but ultimately good Mayor Tanaka, and her slightly estranged daughter Rin, who is so welcoming and lovely as Eva’s guardian. I also adored Eva’s parents, who are so present and loving, which is all too rare in middle grade and YA, and I can’t tell you how much I loved Eva’s pet flamefox Ember, especially I’m now absolutely convinced my dog Saffy is in fact a flamefox. Another small thing that I loved, was the inclusion of a disabled character, who didn’t fall into any harmful or offensive stereotypes, and who (I think, anyway, given the different spelling), has the same name as I do, even though our disabilities aren’t the same! The worldbuilding was incredible and I loved how detailed and intricate the magic system wasThis was such a joyful read, and I’m super excited to read the second installment of the series when I can.

Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak

As you might know, I’m a big fan of Carlie Sorosiak’s writing, and discovering how good her YA is has been a lot of fun this year. Her second is the story of 17 year old Quinn, who lives at the summer camp her parents run year-round, and alternates between chapters set in the summer, when she and her siblings all fell in love with the same boy Dylan, and in the winter, where they are estranged due to the tragic accident at the end of the summer. Quinn blames herself so much for what happens, and I spent most of the book just wanting to jump in and give her a huge hig and tell her it really, truly wasn’t. My feelings for Fern and Reid were more mixed as I wasn’t sure about the way they were treating her, but when we hear their sides of the story, I definitely felt a lot more sympathy for them than I expected to at the beginning and I came to love them by the end. Nana, though, I loved the whole way through, and I’m so grateful Quinn had such great support from her, her best friend Hana and her love interest Alexander. The romance isn’t the main plot of this, as it’s more about recovering from trauma and trying to move forward without blaming yourself, but it’s absolutely precious and the laundry scene is one of the cutest things I’ve ever read. Carlie’s writing is just consistently stunning, and she’s definitely one of my favourite writers around right now.

The Village Green Village Bookshop by Rachael Lucas

I’ve been reading Rachael Lucas’s books since my first year of uni, during which I binged nearly all of them (I was reading Wildflower Bay on my very first day, so her books are intrinsically tied with uni to me), and so it was a lovely coincidence that I got to read this on my first day of third year. It’s a companion novel to the Telephone Box Library, set in the same village and giving updates on characters I adored such as Lucy and Bunty, but with an entirely new love story. This one follows young mum to a teenage son Hannah, as she relocates to Little Maudley to take over the village shop, and finds herself very intrigued by ex pro footballer Jake, who is the coach of her son’s football team. I loved Hannah- she is very much a people pleaser, which I could definitely relate to, and it was great seeing her realise that she deserved to make choices to make her happy, rather than always putting others first, and her passion for books and the village Bookshop project was so lovely. The chemistry between her and Jake definitely came through the pages, I was rooting for them to be together so much, and I also loved her relationships with Ben, Beth and Katie especially. Bunty’s little cameos brought me much joy in regards to returning characters, and it was nice to see how Lucy and Sam were getting on as well. The little village setting works so well and Rachael is absolutely amazing at writing them, so I’m kind of hoping we may get to visit Little Maudley with a different character at some point. I’m so thrilled Rachael has another book out this winter, because losing myself in her beautiful, cosy books is so much fun, every single time.

Amber Undercover by Em Norry

Given the comp titles this has, such as Geek Girl but with spies, I knew I had to pick it up because that’s one of my favourite series of all time. It follows a girl named Amber who is scouted as a spy because of qualities she displays in an escape room exercise, and her first mission abroad to stop a dangerous team of elite teenage hackers. Amber is such a likeable character, and although her relationship with her best friend Vi is quite complicated, by the end I really liked their bond. I also enjoyed the plotline with Amber’s family , but my favourite characters were definitely Amber’s fellow spies Clara, Iyabo and Luca. Her flirty bickering with latter was a lot of fun, Clara is an excellent boss and I loved Iyabo’s personality and kindness to Amber during training, so I really want to see more of her if this turns out to be the first in a series. The Alex-Rider-style spying mission was also hugely enjoyable, especially as it’s so topical with the cybercrime element, and although I had a sneaky inkling of who the villain was, I was still taken by surprise a little at the end! Given the loose ends left at the ending, and the huge potential for this as a series, I’m really hoping this isn’t the last I see of Amber and her spying colleagues.

Where the River Runs Gold by Sita Brahmachari

This came highly recommended to me by several friends, and I’ve really enjoyed some of Sita’s writing in the past, so although I don’t read a lot of dystopian novels, this has been on my TBR pretty much since it came out. It’s the story of twins Shifa and Themba, who live in a world where a storm caused by the climate crisis has wiped bees from existence, leading to a government scheme that makes children go into service to pollinate plants by hand. The writing style is so engaging and beautiful even though the world it describes isn’t really , and although there are some things I’d have liked more details and explanation about, but it’s such an interesting concept and there are parts of the worldbuilding I thought were exceptional. I was also a big fan of the characterisation, especially that of Shifa. Her protectiveness over Themba even though she too was struggling being away from home, was so lovely, and I also loved her determination and bravery. Luca was also a really interesting character, and I think it wouldn’t be possible to not love Themba. There are some great twists and interesting developments as the book goes on, and I was absolutely gripped while reading it. Overall, this is so moving and I loved the hopeful ending, as well as the messages that nature and literature and art and history are all so very important.

Aarti and the Blue Gods by Jasbinder Bilan (recieved from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I think Jasbinder Bilan blends fabulism/speculative elements with contemporary plots so well in all her books, but this is definitely my favourite so far. It’s the story of Aarti, who has lived all her life on an island with Aunt, who is emotionally abusive and makes her life lonely and often difficult, other than her time with beloved pet fox Chand or reading books about Hindu gods. Then, Aarti discovers a locked room full of secrets that imply neither Aunt nor Aarti are who she claims, and when an almost-drowned boy washes in with the tide, Aarti sets out with him to try and find her way home. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I loved that this was a bit darker than most middle grades, and the sense of horror that crept over me as I realised what was going on was horrible, but made for a gripping reading experience. I loved Aarti so desperately and Aunt made me absolutely livid, but she reminded me very much of Mother Gothel from Tangled as she’s so manipulative and sly with her gaslighting and other forms of abuse. Chand the fox was wonderful, and I found Euan absolutely fascinating as a character. That said, the fabulism and magical element of the story ensures it never becomes too bleak, and I loved learning more about links between Scottish and Indian history, as well as the wild, slightly frightening but ultimately beautiful island setting. Jasbinder always asks readers in the acknowledgements “where shall we go next?”, and once again, my answer is anywhere she chooses to write about, because her settings are nothing short of spectacular and I love her writing in general.

Sky Pirates: the Dragon’s Gold by Alex English

I really enjoyed the first book in this series during lockdown last year, so I’ve been looking forward to the second installment ever since and it didn’t disappoint. It sees Echo become a member of the Black Sky Wolves, a sky pirate crew, and tells the story of what happens when she and her cousin Horace are kidnapped by rival sky pirates, the rather unsavoury Thunder Sharks, and forced to go on a hunt for treasure into the dangerous Dragonlands. I love this world, and it was wonderful to not only see it again, but to learn about places we didn’t see in book one, and other new elements such as cloud catching were also great. It was also nice to see Echo and Horace again, especially now their relationship has evolved into a much friendlier one despite their differences, and I still absolutely adored Echo’s chameleon Gilbert, especially since he reminds me so much of Pascal from Tangled (which is my very favourite Disney film just for the record!). I also loved getting to know the Black Sky Wolves better, especially Bulkhead, Flora and Echo’s mum Lil, whose relationship with her daughter and how it’s different to what Echo expected or hoped for is a big part of the story. The adventure plotline zipped along at a great pace, and if I’m correct that this is a duology rather than a trilogy, I look forward to reading whichever worlds Alex comes up with in the future.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I’ve been on the fence about reading this for ages, but when a bookseller (hi Clara, if you read this!) at my local Waterstones basically pressed it into my hands and told me to read it, and I’m so glad I finally have because it was much more my vibe than I’d expected it to be. It follows Alex, the first son of the United States, who is forced to fake a friendship with Prince Henry of Wales after an unfortunate altercation between them at a royal wedding, and with this being a romcom, they inevitably fall in love with one another. The writing style of this is a bit different as it’s third person but present tense, but it made me feel even more connected to the characters, and some of the jokes in the narration were among my favourites of the whole book. The dialogue, though, is just so sharp and slick and funny the whole way through; I seriously can’t tell you how much this book made me giggle. I think the characters did play a huge part in that though, because I just loved them and their dynamics between each other. Alex was probably my favourite because I loved his ambition and sense of humour, but I also adored Henry (who definitely dies have a personality, and a super cute one at that), Nora and Zahra especially. The other thing that was so special about this is that it depicts a very different America and White House to the one that we had in reality in 2019, and I wish so much this version was the real one. It’s absolutely disgraceful that there’s never been a female president of the United States, and I loved that Casey McQuiston wrote such a badass boss in Ellen Claremont. Think the West Wing but sexier and funnier (with the exception of Celestial Navigation, which is the funniest thing of all time!) and you basically have this book!

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these books? Do you want to? Which books with colours in the title do you love? And as ever, big brownie points to anyone who guesses which song I’ve lifted the title from!! Come chat to me in the comments!

Amy x

Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: | she/her

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