Guest Post: 10 Things About Christmas in Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter 

Hello everybody!

Today, I have a guest post from the amazing Tamsin Winter (author of Being Miss Nobody, which I thought was incredible).

Over to Tamsin!

1. It’s in the school Christmas assembly when the idea for writing a blog starts to flicker in Rosalind’s mind. She’s been silent at her new school for a whole term, and she’s beginning to figure out a way to have a voice.

2. Christmas Day takes on a whole new significance when Rosalind accidentally finds out it could be her little brother’s last Christmas. 

3. Their dad is extra embarrassing during the Christmas period. He wears reindeer antlers to the supermarket, for example. Like Rosalind says, “There must be something in my dad’s DNA that prevents him from feeling any kind of social embarrassment. I feel the Exact Opposite to that pretty much all the time.” 

4. Rosalind has a Major Emotional Meltdown On A Colossal Scale when she finds out her auntie is coming for Christmas Day. Rosalind can’t speak in front of her, so it means she’ll have to spend the whole day in complete silence. 

5. Her parents invited Rosalind’s auntie because it’s her first Christmas since getting divorced, and they didn’t want her to spend the day alone. Like a lot of people who have family members with mental health conditions, or other types of conditions, Rosalind’s parents find it difficult to balance Rosalind’s needs with the needs of the rest of the family. They don’t always get it right.

6. Rosalind’s angry, emotional outpouring of words on Christmas Day was a difficult scene to write, and one that illustrator Emma Trithart captures beautifully in a ‘word tsunami’. Luckily, Rosalind’s little brother Seb is there to brighten the mood with one of his Brilliant Ideas.

Emma Trihart

7. Rosalind spends a lot of time with her ex-Christian Missionary and slightly crazy cat lady next-door neighbour, Mrs Quinney, who tells her bible stories (and gets annoyed if the cats aren’t listening). Although her family aren’t religious, Rosalind prays a lot in the book. And becomes a little obsessed with looking for signs from God. She craves support and guidance and, because of her SM, isn’t always able to ask for help. The one thing she wants more than anything is a friend.

8. Christmas Day is the first time Rosalind tells her parents about the bullying she’s been experiencing. I wanted to write a book that explored the instinct that many young people have to hide bullying from parents and teachers – the very people who would be able to help. This is an important scene in the book because it’s when Rosalind takes the first very brave step towards opening up.

9. On Boxing Day morning, Rosalind discovers an unopened gift. It’s a diary given to her by speech therapist Octavia, who as Rosalind says, “is not exactly an angel, but not exactly a normal person either.” In it, Octavia has written a quote from Maya Angelou – ‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.’ 

10. This quote has an enormous impact on Rosalind. And a thought comes into her head that changes everything: ‘What if I could be more than just a nobody?’ 

Thank you for reading! What did you think of Being Miss Nobody, if you’ve read it? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

PS- head over to Twitter, where I’m running a giveaway of this boo today for a chance to win it! UK only.

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Anthology Review: Winter Magic

Hello everybody!

Today, for day 10 of blogmas, I’m going to be reviewing the fabulous Winter Magic anthology, which was released last year. I had so much fun rereading this!

Onto the reviews!

A Night at the Frost Fair by Emma Carroll– WHAT an opening! It’s the story of Maya, whose gran is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and the timeslip adventure at a frost fair she goes on after recieving a mysterious object from her gran. The frost fair was so well described it felt as though it was alive and I was really there, and I thought the paralells between the treatment of Edmund (the boy May meets at the fair) and gran in the present day were really clever.


The Magic of Midwinter by Amy Alward
– a short story set in Alward’s Potion Diaries world, the story is about alchemist Sam’s journey to Midwinter to meet the Svenland elves, and arriving to a surprise. The world felt so magical and well built, I adored the elves (especially Uyuni) and I thought the friendship between Sam and her companion Princess Evelyn was lovely in this. I don’t think it would confuse readers new to the Potion Diaries world either.


The Voice in the Snow by Michelle Harrison
– this revisits some of the characters we meet in the Other Alice, namely Gypsy and Piper. I found the plot of this quite complex for a short story and thought it would have worked better as something longer, but I love Michelle Harrison’s world of sinsiter magic and the fact I got to see what became of these characters. I also really like their relationship and the way that ended up.


The Cold Hearted by Geraldine McCaughrean
– this was the story of Fergal and the mysterious, slightly magical people who help him save his family from under an avalanche. I loved the whimsical writing style and grew attached to Fergal in the short number of pages. It also featured a golden retriever called Summer (which is actually what I’d call my next golden, if I ever get one!) so I have to love it for that reason too.


Casse-Noisette by Katherine Woodfine-
in her beautiful ballet inspired contribution, Katherine Woodfine tells the story of Stana, who has been chosen to dance in the first performance of the Nutcracker. Katherine Woodfine’s writing is so beautiful yet still moves on the story at a perfect pace and I thought Stana was a wonderfully relatable heroine. Finally, the love of the ballet really shines through this, and I adored the bittersweet ending.

Someone Like the Snow Queen by Berlie Doherty– I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It’s about Orla, who has recently lost her dad, as her little brother disappears and she has to set off on a journey to find him. I loved the parallels between this and the Snow Queen, and the slight twists Berlie Doherty put on it. I also loved the overall message of the story.

The Room with the Mountain View by Lauren St. John– this is a wintry take on Rear Window set at a ski resort, where Lexie witnesses an event crucial to the disappearance of a circus star when on bed rest with a broken leg. I love the ensuing mystery and the way it unfolds to a surprising conclusion. This has made me absolutely determined to get to Lauren’s two 2017 releases as soon as possible.

Into the Mountain by Jamila Gavin- this wasn’t my favourite of the anthology, if I’m honest. It’s based on the traditional story of the Pied Piper, but I couldn’t really grasp the plot as a whole and I wasn’t especially invested in the characters.

The Wishing Book by Piers Torday– this is the story of Ethel and a myserious, magical, slightly macabre Christmas gift she was given and how it changes her life forever. This reminded me hugely of Roald Dahl in tone and I really enjoyed it. I also loved the heartwarming ending, which I wasn’t sure was coming.

The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone– what a glorious ending to a glorious collection! Curator Abj Elphinstone writes the story of an orphan called Phoebe (who lives in awful orphanage run by Griselda Bone) as she is whisked away by the magical snow dragon. I absolutely loves Phoebe, who is so brave and determined, and her little dancing dog Herbie, and the snow dragon couldn’t possibly have been any more magical and special. I absolutely must get to more of Abi’s books soon, because this was exceptional.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite stories in this collection, if you’ve read it? (If you couldn’t tell mine are Night at the Frost Fair, Casse-Noisette and the Snow Dragon!) Is it on your TBR, if not? Are you a fan of any of the contributing authors? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx


5 Books with Great Food in Them

Hello everybody, and welcome to day 8 of blogmas!

Today, as food is quite a big part of Christmas for lots of people, I thought it would be fun to talk about books which feature lots of it.

Onto the post! 

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon– this is one of my favourite YA books of all time. It’s about Lottie, still struggling to cope with the loss of her dad, and Mac, who feels trpped by his nightmare home life, and them finding each through the new school Bake Club. The recipes (which the characters cook, and we are given!) are varied and so much fun to read about (even though I probably wouldn’t eat any of them 🙈)


The Secret Cooking Club/Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington
– these are lovely middle grade stories about Scarlett, who has abandoned all her hobnies due to her oversharing mum blogger mum, finding an escape in cooking. This leads to new friendships, a whole lot of fun and her life taking a turn for the better. And it features lots of yummy sweet treats, hence why it’s on this list!


Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries by Robin Stevens
– this  book (and all it’s equally excellent sequels) introduced readers to the concept of bunbreak, and rarely a day or two goes by where I do not see that word in my social media circle somewhere. I also indulge in one myself from time to time… . I absolutely love all delicious ones we see superstar sleuths Daisy and Hazel indulging in throughout.


Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
– this is an admittedly weird addition to this list given the main food choice (which I shall not tell you) but the scenes where all the characters come together to eat are probably my favourites as they really drive home the message of a struggling community leaning on each other.


Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
– the Hogwarts feasts are quite literally magical, and I would seriousky love to attend one if I could (*sobs loudly*). Also, the company would be amazing. I’d get to laugh with the Weasley twins, eavesdrop on the Golden Trio’s crazy plans for whatever they’re doing next and comfort lovely Neville in his lower moments. 
Thank you for reading! What books with great food can you think of? Do we share any answers? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

The Christmas Book Tag 

Hello everybody!

Welcome to day 6 of blogmas! Today, I’m going to be doing the Christmas book tag, which is a few years old but super fun to do, and was created by Kate. Onto the books!


1) A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?

I’ve actually written a whole post about this for a guest post during blogmas, so I’ll say one not on there. I’d love to spend Christmas with Kristy’s family from the Babysitters Club (though if Karen could perhaps go elsewhere that would be much appreciated, as I love all her family members except Karen)


2) A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?

Ooh, this one is hard! I really wanted Primark’s Marauders t-shirt a few months ago and haven’t found one, so I think I’ll go for that.


3) A fictional character you think would make the perfect Christmas elf
?

Wilbur from the Geek Girl series would be an absolutely exceptional elf. He’s quirky, generous, wants the best for everybody and is almost always upbeat and perky.


4) Match a book to its perfect Christmas song

The anthology Winter Magic reminds me of Winter Wonderland as we get to see so many amazing wintry worlds .

5) Bah Hambug. A book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?

I was very disappointed in Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls (which I DNFed as I couldn’t connect with it at all) as I’ve loved everything she’s written previously and I’ve been waiting on it for years.

6) A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserve to be put in the nice list?

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen. Barely anyone I know has read it and it’s my favourite standalone middle grade book of all time. (Closely followed by The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll, which I feel is also the least loved of her books)


7) Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmasy feel to it

The cover for the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries Christmassy book, Mistletoe and Murder, is a gorgeous deep red with lots of little Christmas illustrations by Nina Tara.

8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year so they can read it and love it too?

Let’s go for my absolute book of the year and say Running on the Roof of the World, shall we? I’ll be blogging about all of my 2017 favourites later in blogmas too, so look out for that! 

Thank you for reading! I’m not going to tag anyone in this as I know lots of people schedule all their blogmas posts in advance, but if you’re in need of a post feel free to say I tagged you to do this! Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl what you think of my book choices! 
Amy xxx

Guest Post: Layla of Readable Life’s Top 5 Wizarding World Christmas Gifts

Welcome to day 5 of blogmas! To celebrate the fact that there are now only 20 days till the Day itself, I have a guest post from my lovely friend Layla about the Christmas gifts she’d choose from the wizarding world. Hope you love this as much as I did! 


Amy xxx

 
Merry Blogmas everyone! While I’m not doing anything blogmas related over on my own blog, I thought that I’d participate in a small way by contributing this guest post for Amy! We were brainstorming ideas and I knew that I wanted to write something to do with Harry Potter. So when the idea came up for gifts from the wizarding world I’d love for Christmas, we were SO excited! Without further ado…

Five Wizarding World Items I Want For Christmas

A Nimbus 2001.

I know that everyone goes on about having a Firebolt – it is the fastest broom – but there’s something about the sleek, dark design of the Nimbus 2001 that would seem like an absolute dream.

Floo Powder.

Okay so how cool would it be to have a pot of Floo Powder? Thinking that I can’t apparate, this is the next best thing to insta-travel. I just have to make sure I don’t mess up my pronunciation, or I’ll end up in Knockturn Alley…

Exploding Snap.

Snap with a twist! This just seems like it would be great fun to play, especially between a group of friends! Plus it doesn’t seem like it would cause any major arguments like Monopoly would…

An unlimited supply of Fizzing Whizbees.

These would be, without a doubt, my favourite wizarding world sweet. When the films first came out, there was a line of real life sweets that these were included in and they were so. Damn. GOOD. I would love to have them just once more, but to ask for an unlimited supply from the wizarding world will have to do!

A Pygmy Puff.

Pygmy Puffs are adorable. They don’t seem as naughty as Nifflers, and I already have a cat, so I think I’ll go for a little purple ball of fluff with a face and call it a cute name.


There you have it – my Christmas wishlist from the Wizarding World! I hope I’ve inspired you to think of your own list – why not write one on your blog using the tag Wizarding World Christmas or tell us down in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl and @readablelife? I’d LOVE to see your lists!

I’ll see you next time! Come visit my blog sometime, you might even find something nice there!


Layla @ readablelifeblog.wordpress.com

Ten Books Set in Winter/at Christmas 

Hello everybody, and welcome to day 4 of blogmas!

Today, I’m planning to chat about some books I enjoyed set in Winter or at Christmas itself. 

Onto the books! 


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone– this is my favourite Harry Potter Christmas. It’s so lovely to get to see Harry experience Christmas properly for the first time, and I just really love it.

In the Fifth at Malory Towers
– this book in the series sees Darrell and ger friends put on a panto that sounds brilliant. It’s Cinderella, which is my favourite panto, and I’d really love to see this version with original songs and stunning costumes. There’s also an intersting msytery ober who’s sending poison pen letters to the director…

Winter Term at Malory Towers
– this is my very favourite Malory Towers book, despite it being written by by Pamela Cox and about Darrell’s sister Felicity and her friends. It’s about the girls planning/performing a winter play, battling with malicious new mistress Miss Tallant and also two unusual new girls. June and Freddie’s prank is quite possibly the best of the series, too.


Frost Hollow Hall
– this has one of the most beautiful, wintry covers I’ve ever seen and it feautyres tons of wintry goodness inside too, such as a dramatic ice skating scene. Emma Carroll’s writing is just beautiful, and I HIGHLY recommend everything by her, but especially this for the season.

Issie and the Christmas Pony-
in the festive prequel to Pony Club Secrets, we get to see how Issie and her beloved first horse Mystic meet. It’s so nice to see their relationship as we don’t see huge amounts of Mystic in the usual series, and also Issie’s other horses in a flash forward sort of thinh st the end. This’ll make you cry if you’re anything like me, but it’s well worth a read (particularly if you’re a horse lover)


Mistletoe and Murder
– the 5th in the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries series sees Daisy and Hazel head to Cambridge for Christmas, and become emroiled in solving yet another murder. I love how cosy yet slightly creepy this is, and the Christmas scene at the end is brilliant. The festive section headers are so fun too!

The Mystery of the Dinosaur Discovery
– in the 7th Adventure Island book, Jack, Emily, Scott and Drift the dog discover a dinosaur skeleton, and have to work out whether it truly is a fake or if someone has sabotaged the tests. I love this series, and Dinosaur Discovery is no exception. The way Emily works out the culprit is so clever especially and you’ll kick yourself for not working it out! I know I did.


The Ghost Light
– this isn’t set at Christmas, but it feautures several scenes with snow and I’ve decided to include it for that. I really like the Alice Jones mysteries, and I wish more people would pick them up! The Ghost Light is a creepy theatre mystery, and it’s so fun to see the mystery unravel.

The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock
– this book is an excellent conclusion to the Sinclair’s Nysteries in general, and to make it even better it’s set in Winter! There’s a winter ball, a dramatic New Year’s countdown, and we get to see the luxurious Sinclair’s Department Store just before Christmas.


Snowbound
– the events of this book (a massive snowstorm ) are basically my worst nightmare. However, it’s good fun to read! It’s about the different situations the BSC members find themselves in during a snowstorm, and how they make the best of them.
Thank you for reading! What books set in winter or at Christmas would you recommend? What do you think of my choices? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Katie of Exploration of Creation’s Cosy Christmas Reads

Hello everybody!

Today, on the 3rd day of blogmas, I’m thrilled to welcome my lovely friend Katie to chat about some of her favourite cosy Christmas reads.

Over to Katie! 

The ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ anthology –This anthology has a ton of really festive, cosy stories, by a really wide variety of amazing YA authors. My personal favourite is Stephanie Perkins’s story (she’s also the editor, which is really cool – there’s also an awesome summertime anthology) but honestly a large majority of the stories were really, really enjoyable – I found this pretty unusual, because usually in an anthology, a good few are bound to not be my type of read. There are some other amazing YA authors in this book who I adore, too, like Rainbow Rowell & Jenny Han. I will definitely be re-reading this one during December. If you want to feel all cosy and happy and sappy this Christmas, give this one a go. It’s also super easy to pick up and put down whenever you like, because each individual story is so short (yet so well-rounded!!).

Let It Snow -This is a collection of three stories, written by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and the exceptionally talented John Green. I enjoyed the reading experience of this book SO MUCH. Not only was it super festive, but it was also so incredibly funny. I had never read anything from Maureen or Lauren before, so discovering their amazing writing styles was a great surprise, and I already knew and loved John Green, so this simply exemplified that adoration. If you want something really cheerful, but beautifully written, this Christmas, this is definitely the one for you!! 

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone– Actually, I’d like to recommend the entire Harry Potter series because, a) I’ll do that every chance I get, with any possible excuse but also, b) all of the Harry Potter books have wonderfully cosy Christmas moments. The only exception is Deathly Hallows, where Christmas becomes this forgotten, hazy memory for Harry and Hermione, and it’s so eerie and sad to see how far they’ve come from their first Christmas at Hogwarts. I always love reading about what Harry got sent for Christmas, from the lovely treats he receives from Mrs & Mr Weasley, the hilariously weird things from Dobby and the ridiculously stingy “gifts” sent from the Dursleys. Ultimately, though, the Harry Potter books are so cosy and fun to read all year around, not just at Christmas.

Little Women– This is one of my ultimate favourite classic novels and it’s also one of the first books I read and fell in love with. It has some really festive, wonderful, nostalgic moments in it and the setting of the March house just leaps off of the page – it’s somewhere that sounds pretty magical at Christmas. If you’ve never read this book before, either because you haven’t come across it, or you’ve been too intimidated, I couldn’t possibly recommend it more. It’s really magical and beautifully written – also, I think it would be a great way to start getting into “classic” texts. The March sisters have some really complex, gorgeous relationships. I think I might re-read this one this Christmas.

Have you read any of the books Katie recommends? What did you think? What are your favourite cosy reads? (Both festive and not!). Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx