Hello everybody! Today, despite the fact that most of these will already be out by the time this goes up because I once again forgot that I usually do this post but still wanted one to look back on, I’m going to be talking about the books released in January that I’m most excited for! I promise I’ll try and have the Febraury ones up before they’re all released, though I haven’t read any of these at the time of writing so I can still talk about why I’m excited rather than what I thought. Onto the books!
Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be sharing my thoughts on all of the books I read in November (excluding a couple for school!), which were all pretty great- it`s definitely been amongst my best months for quality if not quantity! Onto the post!
Today, I`m going to be reviewing all of the books that I read in July, which was mainly another really great reading month for me, in terms of both quantity and quality. Onto the books!
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!
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!
Today, I’m taking part in the Children’s Book Awards blog tour, and I’ll be giving some information about the Island at the End of Everything and sharing a quote from the author about what it means to her to be on the shortlist. Onto the post!
Today’s post is a personal piece that I wrote as part of my coursework (which we call folio) for English National 5, which I sat last year. I’m both nervous and excited to share it, so I hope you enjoy.
Imagine for a moment that you are seven. You`re too tall, and you`ve started puberty around five years too early. No one knows what`s wrong with you, and the doctors you go to see brush you off and say you`re being silly. But your mum is terrified so they send you for an MRI scan to get your case off their desks. I don`t have to imagine it; that seven-year-old was me.
The appointment letter arrived, and the date was set. The 30th September 2009 at 6 o`clock. My mum prepared me in the weeks before, told me how I had to be brave for the scan so we could make sure I was okay.
I was going to be okay.
The day arrived. At hometime that day, my mum and dad picked me up instead of the bus. We arrived at Yorkhill at half past three. “You`ll have to wait,” the nurse told us.
Cancellations are as rare as happy endings in the MRI unit, I`ve found out since. But by some twist of fate, there was a cancellation at 4 o`clock. I was ready, and then they strapped me in.
I had a meltdown. I couldn`t do it.
“You can come back,” the nurses said. “There`s no rush.”
Tempting as their offer was, I couldn`t accept, not after I looked into my mum`s eyes and she begged me to do it for her. I gripped her hand so hard she wouldn`t be able to feel it for days, but she didn`t care. I`d done the hard bit, and now I was going to be okay.
After we`d been waiting for over three hours, my parents knew I was not okay at all.
A doctor finally appeared. His face was so white he could have been dead. I still remember the first thing he said to me: “I think you`ll have to take a few days off school to process this”
He went on to tell us that I had a tumour the size of an orange, with a rat tail pressing on my pituitary gland, growing in my brain, along with several in my ears and on my spine. I needed surgery urgently. I think my family and I knew in that moment that I was never going to be okay again.
My mum took me into the corridor before he started explaining the various ways my surgery could go wrong. “Am I going to die?” I sobbed, falling to the floor.
“If you do I`ll kill you again” my mum said, helping me up. In more ways than one, she`s kept me standing ever since.
I don`t remember the two weeks before I had surgery, apart from playing ridiculous amounts of Wii Sports. I didn`t go to school apart from the day before the October week began, to say goodbye (possibly forever) to my classmates. I didn`t speak to a single person all day.
Instead of the full week, we spent a few days in Eyemouth before my operation. Neither my mum or dad stopped crying the full weekend.
I don`t know very much about the aftermath, apart from what I`ve been told. I was more helpless than a new-born baby; I couldn`t walk, talk, eat, drink or see. I had to learn everything from scratch, and I spent almost a month in hospital, but no amount of effort would bring my sight back. My surgeon Miss Brown, hands down the cleverest person I know, thought it was the price we`d paid for my life.
Somehow, after six weeks, I gradually began seeing blurry colour, then fuzzy shapes and eventually some sight returned. My mum didn`t leave my side the whole time. I can say with some certainty I don`t think I`d have survived without my mum, encouraging me every day I spent in hospital.
My health still isn`t amazing. I`m no longer walking about with a ticking time bomb inside my head, but the tumours in my ears have grown, and I`m facing some sort of treatment in the next year due to tinnitus. And due to where the brain tumour was located, I have frequent headaches and nausea, and if I go a day without falling it`s a miracle. Because my `major` tumour was in my brain, they can`t be sure, but doctors think I have neurofibromatosis type 2, a condition which produces tumours on your nerves.
Things are never going to be truly okay again, and I`ve come to terms with that, just about. I`ll always spend quite a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms; I`ll always have headaches and feel sick most days; always have to be careful when I walk in case I lose my balance and fall. I`m terrified about the idea of having another surgery, or radiation therapy in the near future.
Looking to the future, the chances of me being able to drive are slim, and perhaps the thing that upsets me most of all, if I was to have children, something I would like to do at some point, I risk giving them this. I risk putting my child through numerous operations and treatments and day to day illness. I risk killing my child. It`s a long way off, but I think about it almost every day. That`s the thing that scares me most about my condition; the idea that I`ll have to make a decision one day about playing Russian Roulette with a baby`s life.
If I could go back and tell my seven-year-old self something, I`d tell her that even though what she`s about to do isn`t easy, she`ll get through it. She is braver and stronger than she knows and she`ll overcome the odds. I`m not okay, but after a while I got used to it, and I`ve found a new version of okay.
And maybe that`s all anyone with an illness like mine can do.
Thank you for reading ❤
Today, I’m hugely excited to have Ruth Lauren, who wrote one of my favourite reads of this year, here for an interview.
Let’s get started!
Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview; welcome to Golden Books Girl
It’s my pleasure, thanks so much for having me!
1. Can you please describe Prisoner of Ice and Snow in 5 words for anyone who hasn`t read it?
Prison Break meets Frozen
2. What inspired you to write the book? Had you always envisaged it as a series, or did you originally plan for just one book?
The idea began when I was watching Prison Break with my son. I wondered what that kind of story would be like if it was about two young sisters instead (and then if it were set in a fantasy land where I could add all sorts of interesting challenges and twists).
I actually only planned a standalone, but every publishing house interested in the story wanted a sequel, and once I started thinking about what might happen to Valor and Sasha next, I knew they were right.
3. The world of Demidova is so vivid and layered. How did you go about your worldbuilding? Were there any high points or challenges during this process?
You’re so kind, thank you!
I wanted a very cold, snowy, frozen world where the elements themselves could cause problems for the characters and bleed through into every part of the planning Valor has to do to try to break her sister out of prison.
Once the setting was fixed in my mind, the details had to reflect the landscape—the animals that inhabit it, the clothes the people need to wear, the food they might be able to access. My editor was brilliant at helping me think about other aspects that add to making the world feel real—like special celebration days in the city, the history of the prison and the geography involved with surrounding lands and how they might impact on the story.
I drew on elements of the Russian landscape and traditional clothing but I also wanted to create a matriarchal world where only women can rule and where they often have positions of power. I wanted the sisters to inhabit a world where they don’t have to struggle or overcome (at least not in this aspect) and it would never occur to them that those positions weren’t open or available to them. They see women in every role in the book—from ruler to doctor to prison guard to hunter. That was a really important part of the world to me.
The whole experience was actually one big high point (or at least it feels like it in retrospect). Prisoner is very different from anything I’d written before and it was a lot of fun to write.
4. Your heroine Valor, is so brave and I really sympathised with her throughout the book, even if I didn`t agree with her decisions. Who would you say your top three heroines are?
Ok, I’m cheating a little bit here.
TV: Buffy, Jessica Jones, Lisa Simpson
Books: Katsa (Graceling), Feo (The Wolf Wilder) and Katniss Everdeen
5. Alongside Valor is a variety of other prisoners who form a fabulous ensemble cast. Which character of these is your favourite?
I have a soft spot for little Feliks, but Katia is my girl.
6. What`s your writing process like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?
I really don’t! Just outlining, trying to write 1k a day when I’m drafting, and wondering how people who listen to music when they write can possibly concentrate.
7. If you could have written any book by another author, what would it be and why?
I would love to steal The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for my own. Or anything by Laini Taylor or Kristin Cashore or Katherine Rundell. Their imaginations feel so much bigger than my own and I know I could never write anything on the scale that the first three do or with the inimitable style that Katherine Rundell does.
8. Finally, before our quickfire round, can you let anything slip about the sequel to Prisoner of Ice and Snow, Seeker to the Crown?
Seeker picks up right where Prisoner left off and with Princess Anastasia now missing, Valor is plunged straight into another exciting mission. More crossbow, more icy danger, and I don’t want to say too much, but a certain monarch may vanish leaving Demidova in chaos . . .
Hogwarts house- I have no idea!
Favourite flavour of ice cream– Salted Caramel
Animal you`d most want to turn into?- Cheetah
City/country you most want to go on holiday to that you haven`t yet? Florence, Italy
Favourite season of the year?- Spring
Thank you so much to Ruth for answering my questions, and Emily at Bloomsbury for setting the interview up!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post everyone! I’d love to hear what you thought if this book if you’ve read it!