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
 

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Guest Post: The Cake Flavoured Book Tag 

Hello everybody! 

Today, I have a guest post for you from Liv, the fab Cake Flavoured Book Tag, which originated on #bookstagram and was adapted by Paper Fury.

Over to Liv! 


Hi, I’m Liv and I blog at livswonderfulescape.wordpress.com I would like to thank Amy for allowing me to do this post on her blog! This was really fun!

CHOCOLATE CAKE (A DARK BOOK YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE) 

The Sin Eater’s Daughter is amazing to be honest the whole trilogy is great. Say that though I need to polish off the last one.😬

VANILLA CAKE (A LIGHT READ) 

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia is such a lovely book that you could polish off in a couple of hours. I highly recommend it!

RED VELVET (A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU MIXED EMOTIONS) 

This is a hard one but I think it’s going to go to Off the Ice by Julie Cross. After reading it I thought I really enjoyed it but the more i think about it the more I’m conflicted and this really makes me sad because I love Julie Cross.

CHEESECAKE (A BOOK YOU’D RECOMMEND TO ANYONE) 

DEAR MARTIN! DEAR MARTIN! DEAR MARTIN! I don’t think I need to say anymore.❤️

COFFEE CAKE (A BOOK YOU STARTED BUT DIDN’T FINISH) 

I honestly can’t remember the last book I did not finish… actually it might have been Kings Cage ( I know,I know don’t hate me)

CARROT CAKE (A BOOK WITH GREAT WRITING)

 Wing Jones by Katherine Webber her writing is incredible and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I highly advise it.

TIRAMISU (A BOOK THAT LEFT YOU WANTING MORE) 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier one of my favourite books ever written, I could talk about it all day!

CUPCAKES (A SERIES WITH 4+ BOOKS)

The Mortal Instrument series that I have not finished 

FRUIT CAKE (A BOOK THAT WASN’T WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED) 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater  I enjoyed it but not as much as I wanted to. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but I had heard so many great things that I expected it to be incredible.

LAMINGTON (YOUR FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN BOOKS) 

Um Paige Toon always incorporates Australia in here books which I love. She’s also one of my favourite authors!


Huge thanks to Liv for her wonderful post! What are your favourite cakes? Do you feel the same way about any of these books ? Let me know in the comments or 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!

Blog Tour: Lari Don’s Favourite Myths

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome Lari Don as part of her blog tour for the phenomenal Spellchasers trilogy. I hope you’ll enjoy reading her post as much as I did!


I love the old stories. I love myths, legends, fairy tales and folktales. I love them so much I want to rub them with my sleeve and make them shiny and new (just like Aladdin’s lamp…) 

I try to make them new in two ways:

I retell them, out loud to audiences and in books. When I retell traditional tales, I quite openly tweak or change or rip them apart (because oral stories have always been changed by storytellers, that’s how they evolve.) 

I also make the old stories new by taking little snippets of magic and monsters and bouncing off them to create fictional adventures of my own. 

As a child, I loved dragon stories. Dragons are the perfect magical monster. The size! The fire! The teeth! The wings! And there are dragon stories from all over the world, so you can travel round the globe from dragon tale to dragon tale. 

Favourite dragon story: The Laidly Wyrm (from North of England, about a girl who is cursed to turn into a dragon) 

The first connected series of stories I discovered were the Greek myths, with all that family drama, and all those wonderful creatures like centaurs and minotaurs, which made me want to create my own mix and match monsters with scissors and glue…

Favourite Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur (how to defeat the monster in the maze)

I also grew up loving shapeshifter stories, because Scottish folklore is filled with shapeshifters, like the kelpie (an underwater monster who can become human or horse to lure children to the water) and the selkie (who can be human or seal, and is often forced to stay on land when an unscrupulous fisherman hides her sealskin) 

Favourite shapeshifter story: The Tale of Tam Linn (from the Scottish Borders, about a boy stolen by the Fairy Queen) 

As I read more widely, I fell in love with the Viking myths. These are the myths that speak to me most clearly, possibly because they’re set in harsh rocky winter, rather than Mediterranean sunlight. I love the stories of Fenrir the wolf, Kara the Swan Warrior, and Ragnar Shaggy-Breeks. 

Favourite Viking myth: The Death of Baldur (the story I tell most often to 11 year olds…) 

I’m always searching for my favourite stories of all: stories with strong female protagonists. My quest for girls who defeat their own monsters has so far led me to Inanna the Sumerian goddess of love and war, to Nana Miriam the Nigerian girl who defeated a fire-breathing hippo, to Chi the Chinese girl who defeated a seven-headed dragon, and to many more… 

Favourite heroine story: Tale of Tam Linn again! (Because the Scottish boy who was stolen by the fairy queen, was saved by a girl called Janet)

All these traditional tales inspire my adventure novels. For example, there are dragons, centaurs and minotaurs in the Fabled Beast Chronicles. 

And my new Spellchasers trilogy is filled with shapeshifters, with characters who relish their power to change into horses and crows, and characters who are trapped as toads and hares. The biggest villain in the trilogy is inspired by a mix of Sumerian and Egyptian mythology, and the curse-lifting workshop at the heart of the book has a sphinx as a pupil.

And all my adventure books contain strong girls (as well as strong boys, and intermittently useful magical animals…) 

I love the old stories. I love writing new stories inspired by the magic of the old tales. And when the new stories are written, I settle back down and lose myself in the old stories again. I wonder what story I will rub with my ragged sleeve next… 

About the Author


Lari Don is a full-time children’s writer and storyteller. She grew up in the North East of Scotland and now lives in Edinburgh. She writes in her garden shed, helped by purring cats and hindered by lurking spiders. Lari has written more than 20 books, including adventure novels, picture books and retellings of traditional tales.  She can be found on Twitter @LariDonWriter or at http://www.laridon.co.uk

The Spellchasers trilogy is available and out now.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite myths? Do you love retellings of them? What are your favourites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Amy xxx

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 

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”