Guest Review: Mystery and Mayhem pt. 2

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m excited to welcome my wonderful friend Louise to do a review of the second half of the marvellous Mystery and Mayhem anthology. I reviewed part one on Louise’s blog a couple of days ago, and I’m planning to to review this half in the next week or so too 😊

Over to Louise! 
God’s Eye by Frances Hardinge

Newspaper owner Whyte wants a ‘Gods Eye’ view of London. Rival artists Solomon Cork and William Pother are commissioned, although they hate each other so much they refuse to fly in the air balloon together. With Cork flies his young employee Billy. Then Cork falls out of the balloon, and Billy’s friend Susan is arrested on suspicion of poisoning. 

I love the trail of clues in this mystery. It was intriguing enough to keep me reading, and had the perfect balance of believable and out-of-the-ordinary. The set-up gives us just enough people to suspect, and gives Billy reason to care for Susan. Set in the 1800s, it comes across how exciting early flight was. People dream of new possibilities as the skies become accessible to humans for the first time. 

The Mystery of the Pineapple Plot by Helen Moss

It is the 1700s. Ten years ago, a child arrived in England in a crate of pineapples. He came from the plantations, but was kept as a playmate for Lord Catchpole’s daughters. He was named for the words on the side of the crate, Quality First. 

Now Lord Catchpole’s eldest daughter Eliza is engaged against her will to Lord Ponsonby. The pineapple cuttings taken when Quality First was a small child now bare fruit, and Lord Catchpole is engaged in fierce rivalry with his neighbours for the best pineapples. When a pineapple explodes, and a worm bites Lord Ponsonby on the nose, the race is on to find out who put the worm in the pineapple before servant Sam is punished.

Beautifully written. I love Moss’s prose. Her descriptions are so subtle, and often conveyed with action rather than statement. The setting is brought to life through the focus of Lord Catchpole’s obsession with the exotic. As import became wider, new goods arrived in the UK and people became obsessed with the ‘foreign’. Moss shows how what people wanted often wasn’t the real thing, but a very British idea of what another country was. 

This was one of the few stories which wasn’t a murder mystery, and shows how widely the term can be applied. 

The Murder Of Monsieur Pierre by Harriet Whitehorn 

When Monsieur Pierre is murdered, Angelica ‘Jelly’ Beck vows to find out who did it. Was it Lady Osborne, who visited the same evening, or rival shopkeeper Monsieur Leonard?

I found this a little slow-going, but liked Angelica. We are told at the start of the story that she goes on to become a master detective, and the idea that she learned her skills in childhood must be exciting for young readers. 

Safe-Keeping by Sally Nicholls

A necklace is stolen from solicitor Mr Mathieson’s safe, and Mr Contrad is arrested. Young empolyees Billy, Arnold and Stanley set out to find the truth, inspired by the heroes of their favourite ‘tec’ stories. 

The trio of young protaganists reminded me of Katherine Woodfine’s group of young detectives. I LOVE the Sinclair mysteries, so this is positive. I liked how this story was less about the actions which happened, and more about who had the biggest motive

The Mystery Of The Purloined Pearls by Katherine Woodfine

Kitty Shaw’s pearls are stolen from her dressing room. She won’t go on stage without them, to the horror of the theatre producers. Why would anybody steal Kitty’s pearls? 

Did I mention, I love the Sinclair Mysteries? This story is set in the same world. Instead of being told by Sophie, as in the novels, it is narrated by Lil. It was lovely to be back in a familiar world, and to hear Lil’s voice in first person. The set-up is great – a group of people are introduced, and it became apparent that someone’s actions and reactions were a little out-of-sync. A little suspicious

The Mystery of Room 12 by Robin Stevens

James Kahn is left on reception one evening in his father’s hotel. He knows he checked Stella Smith in. Knows she wrote her name and went upstairs. In the morning, her name is gone, her room spotless and nobody believes James. 

Could Stella Smith be runaway Andrea Sandford? If so, what happened? Did she simply disappear? And why are the other guests so keen for him to forget he saw her? 

Unlike most of the stories in the book, it isn’t clear whether there has been a murder or any sort of incident until near the end. I love this format. Robin Stevens is masterful as what she reveals when, and I was hooked. It also had my favourite overall line, about adults: ‘they’ve been around too long, and that means they can’t see what has really happened because they’ve seen too much other stuff already’. Brilliant observation.

Thank you so much to Louise for these fabulous reviews! What did you think of this anthology, if you’ve read it? 

Amy xxx 

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Wunderkids Blog Tour: Jacqueline Silvester’s Top Five Fictional Schools

Hello everybody! 
Today, I have a super exciting guest post from Jacqueline Silvester, author of Wunderkids, all about her favourite schools in books and what she’d get up to if she attended them! Over to Jacqueline!

Where

Constance Billard School for Girls

Why

Because attending Constance would likely mean that I am a rich Upper East Side society teen and that sounds pretty appealing right about now. * Searches sofa for lost coins* It also likely means that I have a stylish, ice-cold girl squad, VIP tickets to all of NYC’s hottest events and a window view of Chuck Bass. Yes, please, and thank you. 

Outfit

Headband! Jewelry to decorate my Constance uniform- Cartier bangles, Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra necklace and earrings. Celine Handbag, Chloe loafers and a Chloe coat. I have given this a lot of thought. Can you tell?

Food of Choice

Salad on the Met steps, duh! Brought to me by courier or one of my minions. Probably ordered from Serafina or Cipriani. If I’m feeling a little celebratory then I’ll order sashimi from Tanoshi. 

After school activity

My after school schedule is very packed. I help plan the Debutante Ball. I am on a bunch of committees, and model U.N, and then there’s my internship at Vanity Fair, private ballet-barre classes, not to mention all the openings I attend (my mom is on the board of like, every museum in Manhattan.)

2. 

Where

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

Why

Well, because that would mean that I am a mutant and I would give ANYTHING to be a mutant. Like, anything. 

Outfit

Pretty much casual  jeans and loose T-shirts. I burn and ruin my clothes when I’m training so I like to keep it super casual. 

Food of Choice

I feel like the kitchen at Xavier’s mansion is very well stocked, especially with American snacks like pop tarts and rice krispie treats. We are not really supposed to have late night snacks or go to the kitchen at night but my roommate can teleport (like Nightcrawler,) so it’s not a problem. 

After school activity

Training for combat in the danger cave. Swimming in Breakstone lake. Trying to break into Hangar bay so that my friends and I can highjack one of the jets for a joy ride.

3.

Where

Camp Half-blood

Why

Not technically a school, but still! Attending Camp Half Blood would likely mean that I am the daughter of a god or goddess and YES PLEASE SIGN ME UP. I don’t even care that the lifestyle comes with troubles and dangers as long as I get to attend camp.

Food of Choice

I would eat lunch with Nico at Apollo’s table. Mainly because I love Nico but also because I’m likely a child of Apollo; with my gift for poetry and all that (and I also feel that my mom would have a had a soft spot for Apollo if you catch my drift.) I’ll have some barbecued fish, grapes galore, and fresh strawberries (whatever the wood nymphs are carrying around.) Since my goblet can magically refill itself with whatever drink I desire, I’ll opt for Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla

Outfit

Orange camp T-shirt. Obviously. My boyfriend is a son of Hermes so he made me this little necklace with wings on it, or maybe he stole it, I don’t really know, but it’s super cute and I wear it everyday. I also wear this little leather bracelet with an arrow charm on it to remind me of my dad. 

After school activity

Giving the climbing wall my best shot. Archery practice, obviously. I spend the rest of my time honing my writing talents and reading my poetry to my siblings.

4. 

Where

Wildwood Academy

Why

Yes, Wildwood academy has something sinister lurking beneath its amazing exterior, but that sinister thing only affects like 3% of students so I will take my chances! The food is to die for, the setting is beautiful, the classes are exceptional and funky, and if I got in that means I’m either very talented or very rich, so there’s that.

Food of Choice
Sums and I like to hit the all day Waffle buffet and experiment with the endless toppings. I also like the soft serve machine. The sashimi towers served at dinner. If I’m feeling healthy I will hit up Amber’s favorite- the yoghurt stand. 

Outfit

I like to wear this floor length black cashmere coat. It’s looks so ominous against the backdrop of winter mist and the redwood forest. Also it goes with my uniform and it isn’t technically a uniform violation

After school activity

I want to be on Stamos’s events committee and help plan the winter ball, the Halloween dance, and the Easter egg hunt (dubbed the Easter make-out hunt, as students tend to saunter off for make-out sessions instead of looking for the eggs.) 

When I’m free I like to sneak off to the Point. Once in a while ill go to town to Ye Old Ice Creamery or get a tarot reading in (mostly so that I can gawk at the off-limits townie boys.) 

5.

Where

Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Why

Because it’s Hogwarts. No explanation needed.

Outfit

My robes and my uniform. I have a lot of house pride so I tend to overdo it on the Ravenclaw accessories. My mom is a witch and a fashion designer and she crafted me these light silk pajamas that cool you down when it’s hot and heat you in the winter nights. They are in my house colors and that’s what I wear at night, or in the common room for all-nighter study sessions pre- O.W.L.s.

Food of Choice 

Sunday Roast except every day, pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes to tie me over between meals and for late night studying. Hagrid invites me over sometimes for tea and rock cakes.

After school activity

I like to go to Hogsmeade for essentials, like to drink butterbear and gossip with my friends. But also for new quills from Scrivenshaft’s. I can be found in the prefect’s bathroom taking pink bubble baths, in the library or at quidditch practice.



Wunderkids is available to buy now

Thank you so much for reading! What did you think of Wunderkids? What are your favourite fictional schools? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl, I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx


Guest Post: Louise Cole’s Top Books She Wishes She’d Written

Hello everybody! 

Today I’m very excited to welcome Louise Cole (author of the Devil’s Poetry) to the blog to speak about the top ten books she wishes she’d written. I had a lot of fun organising this post, and I really hope I’ll be able to have more authors on the blog in the future. I’d love to know your thoughts on the post in the comments or on my Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl. Now over to Louise’s excellent post! Amy x

Continue reading “Guest Post: Louise Cole’s Top Books She Wishes She’d Written”