Guest Post: My Favourite MG Books by @aimee_louise_l

Hello everybody

Today, I have a brilliant guest post from my amazing friend Aimee, all about her favourite MG books! Enjoy!

Amy xxx

Thank you so much Amy for having me on your wonderful blog. I am so excited to be sharing my favourite MG books with your readers. I’ve had a fab time writing this. So without further ado, onto the books!!

The Dream Snatcher trilogy by Abi Elphinstone

Obviously this is on my list. I’d need my head examining if I was to miss out this feisty, bold spirited trilogy. With Old Magic, the wilderness and a wild spirited heroine, this MG trilogy stole my heart when it burst onto the bookish scene back in 2015.

Winter Magic curated by Abi Elphinstone

With 11 short stories celebrating the magic of Winter, these stories are perfect for sitting by a fire with a cup of hot chocolate. I absolutely love these stories and how they add that extra magic to some of the most wonderful aspects of Winter.

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

Are you surprised? Really? If this didn’t make it onto my favourite MG books list then I’d have been shouting about this book for absolutely NO reason. Hope. Friendship. Courage. Loyalty. A sprinkling of love. This book really does have it all. I’ve never been on a more atmospheric adventure that literally has magic spilling out of it’s pages.

Eren by Simon Clark

A tale of a gargoyle that feeds on stories. Erm yes please. Seriously, feed me with ALL of the stories and I’d be happy too. Dark, eerie and filled with glorious story-telling, this MG book has the right dose of dark magic sprinkled amongst its pages.

The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan

Imagine a world without chocolate? Nope. Neither could I until I read this book. There’s some serious work to be done to save chocolate, and that is not because Chris is going to eat it all himself (though I’m sure he’d LOVE to).

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Oh how I love this book. Oh how I love to read. Matilda for me captures the very essence of why books are so important. Without books, we’d not be able to escape reality. Without books, we’d not be able to become more educated and knowledgable. Without books, we wouldn’t know the hidden stories and wonders of the world and universe.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts is my home. The Harry Potter books found their way into my heart at the age of 11 years old, Hogwarts letter recipient age to be precise, and have been with me ever since. These books have literally helped me to deal with so much in life and have always been the light in the darkest of times. I am so proud to be a part of the Harry Potter fandom and a Gryffindor at heart.

A Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Milwood-Hargrave

I truly fell in love with Kiran’s story about a cartographer’s daughter who goes on an adventure to save her best friend. Maps. Ink. Stars. That is all this girl needs. Extra bonus if you get to discover the hidden secrets at the heart of the island.

Boy X by Dan Smith

An adventure that follows a boy called Ash who wakes up on a remote tropical island after being kidnapped and drugged. WOW. Hard-hitting stuff right? Well…there’s more. Ash has to trek through the jungle in order to find his mum, who has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. IS THIS NOT ENOUGH FOR THE POOR LAD? Seriously though, a pretty action-packed adventure that tests Ash’s strength and stamina whilst the animals watch on as he crosses the jungle in a bid to save his mum.

The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me by Roald Dahl

Possibly one of the most underrated Roald Dahl books out there. I loved reading this as a child and I still love it now. Basically a small boy who dreams of owning a candy shop (watch out Willy Wonka, I think you’ve got competition on your hands) meets a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. What’s so special about that I hear you ask. Well, the giraffe, pelican and money are window cleaners. So if you think that the people who clean your windows do a terrible job, then maybe you should consider these guys. They not half do a decent job. Just saying.

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes

You have not lived, if you haven’t read these absolute delightful and revolting poems which put a twist on the fairy tales that you know so well. So if you wanna find out why you shouldn’t mess with Red Riding Hood and how your other favourite fairytale characters are getting on, then seriously please give these a read.

I have so many more MG books which I love, but I’d be here all day if I was to continue talking about them all. So if you’d like to recommend some MG books that I should look out for then please do tell me, even if my TBR won’t forgive me,

Aimee Louise

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Why I Loved Doing Blogmas

Hello everybody!


Today, I’m doing a little bit of reflection on why I enjoyed doing blogmas so much during December. After all the stress was out of the way, I thought it was an incredible experience, and one I personally loved (though I totally respect anyone who doesn’t enjoy it; every blogger is amazing regardless 💜). Unless anything drastically changes over the next year (which is entirely possible), I’m very much hoping to take part again in 2018. Onto the reasons why I decided this!

 Increased Engagement– I’d be a liar if I didn’t own up to liking a boost in my stats, but I mean other things by this too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading other bloggers’ posts and trying to comment on and engage with them.


Creativity
– I got to come up with ideas, both for myself and working with guests to decide on their posts. It was brilliant fun, and I love how differently they’ve all turned out, even when working from similar titles. It was a big challenge, especially considering that I usually post 13 times a month on average, but I’m genuinely thrilled with every idea that made the cut (and some which didn’t, that I’ve added to thoughts for 2018 blogmas)


Getting to Organise Something-
I’m nowhere near near as organised as some people seem to think I am, but I do really quite enjoy it. Blogmas unleashed my inner organiser (blogging does in general, if I’m honest). Spider diagrams of brainstorming sessions and schedules have been in my notebook since July. This was admittedly extreme, but I’m so proud I pulled it off. In the interest of full disclosure, I already have a loose schedule in mind for blogmas 2018, should I take part…


Doing Something a Bit Different
– When my blog first began, I posted exclusively about books. Then I introduced the odd Disney post, and then a lifestyle tag and then films. I really enjoy writing them for a change of pace, and I loved doing festive versions during Blogmas! In the New Year I’m hoping to start talking a little bit about music too, which I’m super excited about. I hope you like these different posts too!


Guest Posts-
As well as hosting some amazing guest posts here, I also contributed posts to several blogs I love. It was so much fun, and I really couldn’t pick a favourite of the ones I got to write!


Thank you so much for reading! Why did you love doing blogmas, if you did it?


Amy xxx

My Winter Memories by Jess Butterworth 

Hello everybody!

Welcome to the FIRST day of blogmas! Today, I’m massively excited to welcome Jess Butterworth, whose book Running on the Roof of the World is one of my very favourites of 2017 (and if I had to choose from my top 3, this would be the one I’d pick). Over to Jess, with her beautiful post about her winter memories. 

I love winter and the frosty mornings where grass crunches under your feet and silvery spider webs cling to hedgerows. 

One of my earliest memories of winter is getting snowed in at my grandma’s house in the Himalayas. There was so much snow my parents had to dig tunnels for me to be able to walk through it. The tunnels were deep and I couldn’t see over the top of them. I was surrounded by glittery white snow and it was magical. That year will always be remembered as the year of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. 

Other stories I adored curling up with in winter months included The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson, The Elves and the Shoemaker by Brothers Grimm and The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. 

From the age of 16, I worked weekends in a vintage furniture and gift shop in a medieval granary building in Bradford-on-Avon, next to a tithe barn. There was no heating and in winter I remember buying a pair of boots 2 sizes too big so that I could fit my thick socks into them. The owner was the key keeper for the tithe barn and some evenings I got to bolt and lock shut the creaky giant wooden doors of the barn, alone by torchlight. Each time, long shadows would creep across the wooden beams and my footsteps would echo off the stones, and I’d leave wanting to read Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. 

The shop transformed into The Christmas Shop every November, filled with orange clove candles and cinnamon pinecones; multi-coloured trees and twinkling decorations. Customers would enter as we were setting it up, nailing garlands to the walls and draping fairy lights, and back out quickly, saying, ‘Oh no, it’s too early for Christmas…’

I always understood what they meant, but I loved it anyway; every day I would come home covered in glitter with the urge to write wintry stories about fairies, woodland creatures and magic. During my last year there I discovered The Snow Merchant by Sam Gayton and read it veraciously during my lunch breaks. 

This year I’m spending Christmas somewhere completely new, in Acadiana in Louisiana. Christmas pudding will be replaced with pecan pie and I’ll be reading the Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair and James Rice, where Father Christmas is dressed in muskrat pelts and pulled along in a boat by alligators.  

I’ll also have wintry reads from some of my favourite authors keeping me company, including Emma Carroll’s The Snow Sister, Mimi Thebo’s Dreaming the Bear and Winter Magic curated by Abi Elphinstone. 

Thank you so much to Jess for writing this post. I can personally recommend both the Emma Carroll and Winter Magic; and I may be rereading both too! What are your favourite winter memories? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

Amy xxx
 

Meet My Bookmarks!

Hello everybody!

Today, I thought it might be fun to introduce you to my bookmark collection, seeing how much I love having a nosy at what other people use!


Onto the bookmarks…

First of all, these are my booktails, which I have recently completed my collection of properly. I was given my 1st one, the slightly bedraggled looking (now) jaguar, by my aunt and uncle a few years ago for my birthday. With the exception of my jaguars who are named after my uncle (Walter) and then to alliterate with him, Wanda, all of ny booktails are named in alliteration with their animal: Bertie and Bella the bears, Poppy the pig (who Saffy takes great delight in chewing, far more so than all the others, for some reason. Saffy is my younger golden retriever, if you’re new around here), Daisy the dog, Clover the cow (not pictured) and Sasha the sheep.

Next, my Alex Clark magnetic collection. These were only a recent addition, but I’m obsessed with them already. Fun fact: one of these was intended as a Christmas gift for my gran, but I just couldn’t say goodbye when it arrived. I’ll be placing another order soon to replace it, and if a few other I have my eye on slip in, who am I to stop them…? (And maybe a mug too 😉)

I also have these gorgeous ones which I bought from the Grace Darling Museum. I barely ever use them as they get crushed and crinkled very easily in bags or moving about, but they’re very pretty to look at it, and I believe at least part of the money I paid for them goes to the RNLI, who do such amazing work.

Finally, my odds and ends; a few slogan bookmarks, one with my name on it and also this stunning one someone once drew for me based on a photo of Shimmer and Saffy .  I tend to use these on the rare occasions when I’m reading more than one book to keep my place in the one I start second. The slogan ones do make me laugh! I used to have an amazing tiger one too, which had a super true statement about mornings on it: “I love mornings… I just wish they came later in the day ”

So those are just about all of my bookmarks! Do ypu have any favourites in my collection? Do you use bookmarks? What are your favourites? Tell me about them in the comments or even send a photo on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Zoe’s Halloween Horror Recommendations

Happy Halloween everyone!

To celebrate the occasion, I asked my lovely friend Zoe, of the equally fabulous No Safer Place, who is a huge horror fan (unlike me, who is a huge wuss) to write some horror recommendations. Enjoy! 

Amy xxx

Over to Zoe 😊


I have loved horror for as long as I can remember. I believe books started this love. My earliest memory of horror is reading Goosebumps and Shivers books when I was around 7/8 and the love only grew from there. Today I thought I’d share my love of horror over the years, starting with my favourite horror book as a child, to my favourite horror book now.

A Ghostly Playmate (Shivers) by M.D. Spenser

So this book was the first horror book I fell in love with. I must have been around 7 when I read it and it terrified me. The idea of moving into a new house, feeling lonely and finding a friendly ghost who wants to be your friend – only to find out she wants you to be her friend forever and she’ll do whatever it takes to get you onto her side…I mean, that’s pretty terrifying. Shivers books are brilliant and if you haven’t read them, pick them up on Amazon!

Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps) by R.L Stine

Once I got the taste for horror, I couldn’t stop. Slappy is one of my all time favourite characters. I went to a Goosebumps Alive adult experience recently and I don’t think I’ve ever been as terrified as when I saw Slappy brought to life. Who doesn’t love a good ventriloquist dummy coming to life and trying to kill you? R.L Stine has been one of my favourite authors since I was about 8, and he still is!

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Horror in YA is seriously lacking and this breaks my heart. As a lover of YA and horror, nothing made me happier when I found Alex Bell. I read Frozen Charlotte as part of the Zoella Book Club and completely fell in love. Creepy dolls that come to life and torture you and force you to do some truly horrific things. What’s not to love? The prequel Charlotte Says is even better – and even more brutal!

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Adult horror. I hadn’t read this until a few months ago. Obviously I’d seen the film, loved the TV series and I really wanted to read the original material. It was so much better than the film (I expected no less) and honestly, some of the detail and description is so graphic, it made me feel physically sick…but isn’t that the best part about horror?

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Does this really need an explanation? Dracula is one of the most stunning books ever written and when I read Dracula, aged 14, it changed horror for me. I had a new found adoration for the genre, particularly for vampires and I still do. There is something about Dracula that is just so bloody (excuse the pun!) beautiful.

What are your favourite horror books? What are you reading this Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

Some Slightly Spooky/ Autumnal Recommendations

Hello everybody!

As it’s almost Halloween, I thought it would be fun to share some recommendations for slightly spooky reads, and some set in Autumn.  I’m a total wuss and don’t like horror, so these are perfect for anyone who feels that way too!

Onto the books! (In no particular order…)

The Mystery of the Vanishing Skeleton by Helen Moss- This is very possibly my favourite Adventure Island story, which is set at Halloween in Castle Key. It shows Scott, Jack, Emily and Drift the dog try and work out who the mysterious figure in a skeleton costume commiting odd crimes around the island is.

The My Sister the Vampire series by Sienna Mercer– While this series is mainly contemporary, it also features vampires and has pretty cool worldbuilding, so it definetely deserves a place on this list. It’s about twin sisters Ivy and Olivia,  one a vampire and one a human, as they reunite and try and bond as twins while taking on the vampire world. I especially love the earliest books in the series, which are excellent mysteries!

Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens- This is easily the most sinister of the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries. It focuses on the murder of head girl Elizabeth Hurst, who dies at the Bonfire Night display, and Daisy and Hazel’s investigation to uncover her killer. This sent chills down my spine in places, and I devoured it in a single sitting.

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol- This is such a cosy, warm fantasy and it gave me lovely autumnal vibes. It’s about apprentice witch Arianwyn as she moves to the small island of Lull and discovers that it isn’t as dull a place as she first thought. I’m so excited to return to this magical land when the sequel A Witch Alone arrives in March.

Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire by Anna Wilson, and illustrated by Kathryn Durst- I read this lovely younger MG and I’m so excited to write my review at the end of the month. I read it after a couple of books I didn’t like much and it totally lifted my spirits. It’s about Vlad, who decides to sneak offto human school because he feels he’s such a failure as a vampire. It’s the PERFECT read for younger children (and anyone who likes books for this age range!), particularly come Halloween.

Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls- I think this is aimed at MG, but it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever read. The ghost Olivia is haunted by in it is awful, and Olivia’s own story is horrifying in a much more realistic way. I don’t think I could ever reread it (I almost gave up more than once the first time because of the creepiness factor), but it’s a thought-provoking, chilling read that I’d highly recommend to anyone.

The Scarlet and Ivy Mysteries by Sophie Cleverly- This mystery series takes place in the creepiest boarding school I’ve seen in a book. I’d never want to attend Rookwood, but it’s a fabulous setting that makes these historical mysteries that extra bit spookier.

Strange Star by Emma Carroll- this is an atmospheric adventure based on the Frankenstein origin tale, and it would be super suitable to read on a rainy autumn evening, with it’s scary scientists and ghost stories fit to ‘chill the blood’

Lockwood and Co series by Jonathan Stroud- This is a hauntingly (pun intended) good series, about an alternative Britain where ghosts come back after their deaths to haunt their ‘Sources’. The smallest and best psychic detective agemcy in London, Lockwood and Co, are an excellent team and I love each and every one of them. This would be a fabulous binge read in the run up to Halloween 😊

Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade by Ann M. Martin- You didn’t really think I’d get through a list like this without a BSC mention, did you? This is my favourite of all the mysteries in the collection, and absolutely the one that scared me most (except maybe the Super Mysteries, which were mysteries 2 times as long and 200 times more dangerous) . It’s about the Halloween Masquerade being sabotaged and the BSC trying to work out exactly who is behind it all, and why. 

Thank you so much for reading! What do you think of these books,  if you’ve read them? Are there are any on your TBR this Halloween? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx