Mirror Magic Blog Tour Guest Post from Claire Fayers: What Would the 17th Century Have Looked Like with Magic?

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m really excited to be hosting a guest post from Claire Fayers, about what the 17th century newspapers may have looked like had magic existed as part of her blog tour for Mirror Magic (which I really enjoyed earlier this month, and shall be reviewing come my June Reviews post!)

Over to Claire!


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Across the Divide Blog Tour: “We Have More in Common than What Divides Us”

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m really excited to be on the blog tour for Anne Booth’s new book Across the Divide, and to share a guest post from Anne, about how we can learn empathy from fiction. Over to Anne!

‘We have more in common’

I love twitter. When I felt lonely and isolated as a carer for elderly parents, twitter was a safe place where I could meet lovely people – writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, agents – who shared my enthusiasm and passion for children’s books and illustrations. Later, through someone I chatted to about children’s books on twitter, it led to me being published, and getting my wonderful agent. Things I read on twitter every day inspire and inform me and give me ideas for new books. I find it a great ongoing source of support and information and entertainment.

But it has its dark side. When I move away from the world of children’s writing and start reading political tweets, things get much more polarised and divisive and depressing. In the children’s book world, we tend to genuinely behave as if, as Jo Cox said, ‘we have more in common than what divides us’. Because politics is so much more adversarial, nobody seems to feel safe to acknowledge the good in their political opponents, or any badness in their own party. There are so many smears and so much selective reporting, so much finger pointing and generalisations and confusion and unspoken agendas. It is so hard to get to the truth, and yet it is presented as easy to find. If you state a political or religious opinion online you run the risk of being put in a box, and also being seen as someone who puts others in boxes. It doesn’t seem to be acceptable to ask questions about things you don’t understand or change your mind about things, in other words, get educated. There is little forgiveness or giving people the benefit of the doubt or understanding that there is good and bad in everyone. This is not healthy, and against the whole spirit of education and debate, and this approach is also poisoning the world outside twitter in which our children are growing up.

In researching the world of Britain at the time of WW1 I found the same poisonous polarisation. I found, for example, that genuinely brave Emily Pankhurst was, horribly, an enthusiastic giver out of white feathers to men she considered cowards for not going to war, and she and others did not recognise their bravery. I read of families divided, smears and lies and wilfully hateful interpretations of good people’s motives.

Stories can be an antidote to this poison. In the fictional world we have the time and the safe space to explore ambiguities and mixed motives, to let people make mistakes and change opinions. In the fictional world cowards can do brave things, enemies can become friends. We can become educated and learn to empathise – we can be uncertain without being screamed at. We can learn, through fiction, how history informs our present, and I hope that ACROSS THE DIVIDE takes the reader to a beautiful place to explore difficult ideas in safety.

ACROSS THE DIVIDE by Anne Booth is out now in paperback (£6.99, Catnip Publishing). Follow Anne Booth @Bridgeanne and Catnip @catnipbooks for more information

Have you read Across the Divide? Do you plan to add it to your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

#IWasBornForThis Blog Tour: #YAPlaylist with Alice Oseman

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m really excited to be taking part in the #YAPlaylist tour, which was organised by the wonderful Nina Douglasto celebrate Alice Oseman’s new book I Was Born For This. First, Alice will be sharing some insight into a song on her playlist for the Book, and then I’ll be talking about a song from a fandom I love. Onto the post!

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How to Write a Love Story Blog Tour: Katy Cannon’s Top 5 Romance Book

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m super excited to be on the blog tour for Katy Cannons new book How to Write a Love Story, which I really enjoyed, as you’ll know already if you read my latest monthly reviews post a few days ago! Onto Katy’s post, all about her top 5 romance books!

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I love reading romance every bit as much as I love writing it. Narrowing down my favourites to just five is almost impossible, but here a few titles that always pop into my head when someone says ‘romance’.

1. Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen was one of the first great romance writers (if you ignore the Greeks) and for my money, P&P is one of the best romances ever written. It has everything I love – a hero and heroine working towards understanding each other, a great supporting cast, and a blissfully happy ending. (Plus some fantastic one-liners!) That’s why it actually features in How To Write A Love Story at quite a pivotal moment!

2. Fangirl: Rainbow Rowell has that uncanny ability to make me feel eighteen again, exactly as it felt the first time around. I loved this book so much, mostly because I felt like I might have lived it, rather than just read it.

3. In The Hand of the Goddess: Tamora Pierce is famous for her fantasy YA novels, of which this is one of the best. I couldn’t begin to claim that romance is the main focus of this book, but there’s definitely enough romantic scenes for me to count it! More importantly, this was the first book I read as a teenager where I realized that however great the plot, what interested me most in books was the characters, and the friendships, relationships and romances they experienced with others. (Plus I had a total book crush on Prince Jon.)

4. Saint Anything: Sarah Dessen is a writer who draws me into the worlds and families she creates, until by the last page I’m devastated to have to leave them. She also writes incredible teen romances – true and heartbreaking and hopeful. I love all her books, but I think this is my favourite.

5. Shadow of the Moon: M M Kaye wrote sweeping historical fiction with romance at its heart, set in India and Zanzibar. She also wrote fantastic short crime novels (with a romantic subplot) set in many of the countries she’d lived in or visited, set during the forties and fifties. What I love about her books is the period details and political background she includes – as well as the drama and the romance! I was hard pressed to pick a favourite, and almost went for her most famous novel, The Far Pavilions, but Captain Alex Randall from Shadow of the Moon will always hold my bookish heart.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite romance books? Do you agree with any of Katy’s choices? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Books About New Beginnings

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m really excited to welcome Jo to my blog for a guest post, all about books with themes of new beginnings. Over to Jo!


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YA Shot Blog Tour: Travel and Writing

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m really excited to welcome the absolutely lovely Jess Butterworth to the blog for a guest post, as part of the YA Shot Blog Tour. Onto the post!


As a child I often imagined I was on adventures in the wilderness without my parents in tow. My grandparents were avid David Attenborough fans and I used to watch wildlife documentaries with them before acting the scenes out: pretending I was climbing to the top of a rainforest; rescuing a pelican from a cliff or swimming with pink dolphins in an alpine lake. I wanted to inhabit an outside world: interacting with nature and experiencing my environment.
The literature I surrounded myself with reflected this desire and books such as Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom; The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Jamila Gavin’s Wheel of Surya trilogy, swept me away to faraway lands or on adventures in new settings. My other favourites included Louis Sachar’s Holes and The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. As I got older I turned to narrative nonfiction and travel writing. All of these stories allowed me to experience being in the wilderness from the safety of my home. These are also the things I consider in my own stories: what are the places I want to spend time in when I write and the type of landscapes I want to create for my characters to interact with? I also soon realised that the stories I loved writing were ones that were fictional but grounded in real places and events.
My reading journey planted the seeds for a desire to go on my own adventures and as soon as I was old enough, I worked as much as I could and saved up for train, bus or plane tickets before setting off, armed with a notebook and a pen. And as I travelled, I noticed that my strongest story ideas developed when I was on buses or trains. There’s nothing better than being tucked into a corner of a train, knees up or legs crossed, with nothing to do but think, people watch and ponder for hours as the scenery whizzes past. In my head I’d ask questions about characters’ motivations: why are they doing this and what will they do next? Sometimes, the passing view outside or the events around me were enough to spark whole book ideas.
I’ve wondered if I find writing on public transport inspiring because in a world where we’re surrounded by the buzz of social media distractions, epic to-do lists, and long working days, it offers the freedom to think and be present without the pressure of sitting at a desk and having to come up with an idea; your only goal is to reach the destination.
But there’s also something magical in writing about a setting as you’re in it. I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s all too easy to forget the little details, the tastes, sounds and smells of a place, when you’re far away from it. Now each idea gets its own notebook filled with photos, notes, maps and clippings from its setting that almost acts as a portal back to the place, when I flick through it. This also gives me something tangible to show students during school visits.


About Jess- Having spent her childhood between the UK and India, Jess’ debut novel ‘Running On The Roof Of The World’ was inspired by the stories she heard about the Himalayas from her grandmother. She begun writing it in 2013 when she was living in the Indian Himalayas and trekked into the mountains as part of her research. You can follow her on Twitter @J_T_Butterworth.


What settings do you enjoy creating/reading about? Are you a fan of Jess’s books? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Book Swap Challenge with Louise of Book Murmuration 

Hello everybody! 

Today, I have a guest post from my lovely friend Louise about the books she’s chosen for me to read in 2018. We decided to swap a list of 5 for a little challenge, so you can have a look at my selections over there, and I’ll be reviewing them all as and when I read them. Over to Louise! 

Evie’s Ghost – Evie thinks her life is impossibly unfair, until she travels back in time and learns about childhood in the 1800s. You’re a fan of middle grade fiction, and this book is a perfect middle grade read. It is a quick read, and the twists and turns come in the right places. I chose this because I think you will love it.

Spellslinger – One of the best YA fantasy novels of last year, and I would love your opinion because you are the same age as protagonist Kellan. I think you will love the sarcastic, witty animal companion, and Ferius Parfax may be my favourite character of all time. This may take you outside your reading comfort zone, but I hope it will start some great conversations between us. 

Piglettes – I chose this for its protagonist, and because it was my feel-good book of 2017. Mireille has been bullied for too long, and she’s given up fighting back. Her school is a hotbed of teenage cruelty, and never more so than during the annual ‘Trotters’ awards. Every year the student population goes online and votes for the three ugliest girls in the school. For the first time in history, the ‘winners’ join together. They set off for a summer of travel, triumph and sausage-selling. I hope this becomes your feel-good book. 

Kick – A Middle-Grade book which more people need to discover. This is the book you need to help me promote! It is amazing – you will cry buckets, but you will laugh too because Budi is a lovely character. The most important thing when discussing difficult subjects is for people to relate to others as human beings, and this is what Kick promotes. We care about Budi’s situation because we care about Budi. I can’t wait to see your review. 

I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan – Another teenage protagonist. In some ways Muzna is like you. She’s a teenager, she’s intelligent and she is exceptionally witty. I thought this book was the best representation of teenage life I’ve read for a long time, but I need a teenager to verify that! Muzna’s life is also very different from yours, and I think it might be interesting to see how a girl so like you could end up in situations which sound like something from another life. Grooming. Extremism. They sound like words from the news, but these things are happening to our neighbours, our friends and the people we pass on the street. There is a lot for us to talk about and I can’t wait to hear what you think. 

Thank you so much for reading! Have you ever done a challenge like this? What backlist type books would you like everyone to read in 2018? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx