A Q&A : Books, Music and TV

Hello everybody!

A little (a long), while ago on Twitter, I asked for some questions for a Q&A post, so today I’m going to answer them all. I was so pleased with all the questions, and I already can’t wait to do another one of these (especially if anyone enjoyed it; please let me know what you think in the comments!)

Onto the post!  

First and last crush on a fictional character?

The first was Aiden from Pony Club Secrets, last was probably Étienne from Anna and the French Kiss. The two biggest are Nick from Geek Girl and Sirius Black.


Favourite show/musical? And favourite character from it?

My favourite musical is Sunshine on Leith, which is based on the music of the Proclaimers, and I also loved Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat


If you were a Disney character, which one would you be and why?

This is SO hard. I asked my mum who she thought I’d be, and she said Belle as I’m almost always reading! I’d say Rapunzel, but I don’t think I’m optimistic enough in all honesty. In a dream world, I’d like to be Olaf.


How do you plan/write your reviews?

Badly 😂. I try and write notes on as many as possible throughout the month, then sit down at the end and write them all up (and usually put it off till the night before I want the post to go up).  If I forget to write notes, I wing it.

 If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I’d love to be a dog (probably either a cocker spaniel or a golden retriever, though really any breed as I adore them all).


Peter Pan or Tinkerbell?

Tinkerbell. Peter Pan is FAR too whiny for my taste.


What’s your favourite guilty pleasure snack?

I try not to be guilty about treats, but I do indulge in quite a bit of chocolate…

 Do you think words have the power to change us and if so do you think this is a good thing?

Absolutely, and yes. Words shape who I am, and my knowledge.


What book have you had on your TBR forever, that you still haven’t read yet?

Loads! Based on the person who asked me this (hey Aimee, if you’re reading) I’ll say Abi Ephinstone’s books. I read the Dreamsnatcher and enjoyed it, but have still never got round to books 2 or 3.


If you could only read one author or genre for the rest of your life who/what would you choose?

I’d read mysteries, because you can find a mystery in most books and could therefore read almost everything!

 What was your first favourite book?

A picture book called Second Best.
What are your pet bookish peeves/things you can’t stand?

I’m not keen on selfish or whiny main characters (or those I perceive to be those things, anyway), unless it’s clear it’s been done on purpose. For example, I really rooted for Olivia in Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls as she’s not conventionally likeable but we can see why. I’m 50/50 with animal deaths, and I detest any poor treatment of animals. 

 What do you really love to see in a book?

I personally quite like instalove if done well, but I also like slow-burn romances. I love characters who are so brave but don’t really know it, if that makes sense. I love seeing a foreign country, or fantasy worldbuilding. I love a good mystery, of course. And a really nice friendship!.

Three elements for a perfect story?

A middle grade mystery, with fab friendships and an exciting, excellent plot.

What’s your fave mythical creature?

I love a good dragon, and also unicorns.

If you could live in one bookish world, which one would you choose?

Stoneybrook in the Babysitters Club. I’ll be nice and safe, be able to look after lovely children and go on fun adventures to places like New York.

What got you started with blogging?

I had wanted to for ages, and decided in June that I might as well give it a shot.

Most underrated book?

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen, which will most likely not come as a surprise. I’m planning a whole new feature this year about other books I love which are underrated and why I think everyone should read them. The first will be my favourite Enid Blyton series…

Most underrated Disney film?

I think I’ll go for Oliver and Company! I also bareky ever see love for Zootropolis, which I adore SO much.


Favourite t.v. show?

I love lots, but Suits is probably my all time favourite. There is literally nothing I dislike about it.


Best thing to binge watch on Netflix?

I have only ever binged the Good Wife on Netflix, which I adored. On DVD, I got through Suits, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and the Mentalist VERY quickly.


Your ideal cosy night in?

A nice film or boxset, Maltesers and Counters, mint choc chip ice cream, crisps, a blanket, pillows and dog cuddles please.


Favourite genre to read
?

Mysteries!


Who are your top 5 singers?

George Ezra and Into the Ark are my joint absolute favourites then Tom Odell, Taylor Swift, Shawn Mendes and Coldplay.


Who are your top 3 favourite Grey’s Anatomy characters?

Meredith, Christina and Alex.

 What underrated book do you wish everyone would read?

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen, or the 39 Clues series.


What classics do you plan to read in 2018?

I have a few I want to read, but I’d especially love to get to Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess and the Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  I’d also like to give some Jane Austen a go!

What is your daemon? 

Ive never read Northern Lights, so I’m not really sure. According to the quiz I just took, a terrier. 

What was the last book you DNF?

I think it was Things a Bright Girl Can Do. 

What’s your favourite and least favourite genre?

MG- Mystery and fantasy, YA- contemporary for favourites. Not big on horror or dystopia at all, and I’m not that into sci-fi.

If you were a book character, what type of book would you be most likely to end up in? (Mystery, adventure, etc)?

I’d like to feature in a mystery, seeing they’re my favourites. Realistically it’d probably be very dull! My life would not make a good book.


Which characteristics in a protagonist really make you connect with them?

I love really brave characters that have to work hard to be so, e.g. Hazel from Murder Most Unladylike or Ade from Boy in the Tower. And those who love animals are always lovely too!
 Which fictional character would you most like to marry?

In what may come as no shock whatsoever at this stage, Nick from Geek Girl. Or maybe Airen from Pony Club Secrets. Outwith books, it’s even harder. Patrick Jane from the Mentalist, Harvey Spectre from Suits and Caleb Rivers from Pretty Little Liars (and also Jackson or Derek or Mark from Grey’s Anatomy). And film wise, Duckie from my all time favourite Pretty in Pink or Andrew from the Proposal, a new fave from this year.Thank you so much for reading! Do we share any answers? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx 

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The Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

Happy New Year everybody!


To kick off 2018, I thought it would be fun to do the Ringing in the New Year Book Tag, which I found on 
Tiny Obsessions 


Onto the post!


BEST
BOOK/SERIES THAT YOU’VE READ IN 2017.

I think my overall favourite was Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth, which is a contemporary adventure set in the Himalayas which I shout about constantly.


AUTHORS THAT YOU’VE RECENTLY FOUND AND WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE OF IN THE NEW YEAR

I will be tracking down more of Lari Don’s books. Can’t think of anyone else!


MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK TURNED MOVIE?

Love, Simon (even though I still don’t like that title at all! I shall be calling it Simon Vs forevermore)

NAME A CHARACTER THAT YOU WOULDN’T MIND SHARING A KISS WITH AT MIDNIGHT (IF THERE IS ONE
)

Nick from Geek Girl. 💜 him. Or maybe Sirius from Harry Potter.


WHAT’S ON YOUR TBR FOR 2017? (TOP 5 WILL SUFFICE IF IT’S AN EXTREMELY LONG LIST!)

Mine has over 100 Books on it. I really want to get to the Northern Lights trilogy especially, and all the review books I have, and classics, and… I could go on forever (and ever and ever)


HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU HOPE TO READ IN 2017?

Around 100, though I don’t plan to count them!


WILL YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE (OR ANY OTHERS)?

Nope! I don’t really like putting pressure on myself to read a certain number of books by x time any more. It just made me feel awful about how much slower I’ve become since I was younger And had much more time)


Thank you so much for reading! Do we share any answers? What would you have said for some of these? I’d love to to hear from you down in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!


Amy xxx

My Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Traditions

Hello everybody!

Can you believe it’s Christmas Eve?! Today, to finish off blogmas, I’m going to be speaking about my Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions

Onto the post! 

• A fish supper- Every Christmas Eve we have a fish supper takeaway and even though I eat fish suppers at plenty of other times throughout the year (a lot, actually. Fish suppers are marvellous 😉 ) this one always signifies that Christmas is almost here.

• Watching films- Whether I stay downstairs with my family or go upstairs myself, I always watch films on Christmas Eve and at Christmas night (not usually Christmassy; we watch those in the weeks leading up to Christmas) I`m not QUITE sure what I`ll be watching this year yet (although I do know Pretty in Pink and The Proposal are strong contenders), but last year I snuggled up with Pretty Woman and Marley and Me.

• Eating Twilights- I don`t think I`ve done this for the past couple of years, but when I was a bit younger I always used to eat Twilights (chocolate sweets with crunchy mint inside, if you don`t know them) when I was opening my presents. In recent years I`ve opted for some Celebrations or Thorntons Smiles instead.

• We lose a giftcard/money- This tradition is not intentional but almost every year it happens. A giftcard stays in the envelope and ends up in the bin, it goes under the couch or down the back or it gets sat somewhere no one would think to look till next Christmas. Many a year has been spent hunting for a book token and similar, and it is a SCARY couple of minutes of hunting, let me tell you.

• Strictly Come Dancing/Mrs Brown`s Boys- These are the only Christmas TV show specials that I think we watch every year. They`re always a fab end to the day though, especially Strictly (I adore Strictly in general, and the Christmas show is always super festive and fun.)

Thank you so much for reading! Do you have any Christmas traditions? Do we have any in common? What Christmas TV do you tune into? Let me know in the comments below!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Noah’s Christmas Message by Simon James Green 

Hello everybody! It’s the 23rd of December, can you believe it? I’m so sad that blogmas is almost over, but today I have a fabulous festive treat to share! Noah, from Noah Can’t Even, has written a Christmas Message, which his lovely author Simon James Green has sent along. Over to Noah! 

The Queen’s Noah’s Christmas Message

Hello everyone, and many festive greetings to you all! As I write this, I am eating a warmed mince pie, a cracker sitting temptingly on my desk, as a lone choirboy sings ‘Silent Night’ outside in the snow. Lol, joking! It’s actually November and we’ve got a supply teacher in History and no work has been set, so we’re allowed to do what we want once we’ve completed his word search handout. You’ll be pleased to know I found all fifteen words in under eight minutes – pretty good going when you consider they can be going any direction, backwards or forwards! Anyway, Mr. Baxter set us a task to write a ‘Christmas Message’ in an attempt to use interesting teaching methods to help us ‘analyse our progress’ (ooh, has someone got an OFTSED inspection coming up?) so here is my work:

As well as being a time for candles, turkey and nuts, Christmas is a time for reflection – and I have been doing a lot of that, let me tell you. I’ve been doing so much reflecting, I’m practically a mirror. And what do I see? Well, I see a year that’s been pretty damn awful. Most of my years end up being pretty bad, but 2017 was especially catastrophic for me since Knobface Simon James Green decided to write his book about me and Scholastic, who I assume are some sort of trendy London company full of people who eat avocados, published it. Now everyone knows everything about me, including my most private thoughts and musings and it’s awful. With the devastating news that the book was optioned for a TV show, and a sequel is coming out next year, I have been actively looking at options for living on Mars, as I believe they are looking for volunteers to form a colony there and start a new society. I have sent in my application for this and expect a positive response, as I feel I have many desirable qualities that the new society would need, e.g. I have Scout badges for knots, first aid, fire safety, hillwalking, naturalist and model maker, amongst many others. BTW, the ‘naturalist’ badge is about nature, and shouldn’t be confused with a ‘naturist’ badge, which is someone who likes to go around with no clothes on. There isn’t a Scout badge for naturism, as far as I know. 

Anyhoo, it’s important not to focus on negative things, so I have also been thinking about GOOD things about this year that I am grateful for:

Am Student Librarian 

Harry 

Sophie is in Milton Keynes but I have an invitation to visit at any time (with a minimum forty-eight hour notice, she says). 

Gran is pretty cool at the moment and we are re-watching all the Joan Hickon Miss Marple episodes together.

Most of the stuff they said would happen in our Year 7 puberty talk has now happened, I think, although not everything, but I guess there’s still time and things happen at different times for different people so it’s not even an issue so shut up. 

OK, so what about 2018? What are my hopes and dreams? Other than a nuclear accident vaporizing my mother, or an admin error delivering several tons of Skittles to my door, my main hope is that people STOP BEING DICKS and we can all just get on and sort out some of the really important stuff, like the fact we’re all going to be incinerated because of global warming, or die in the antibiotic apocalypse, or a billion other awful things. But all that’s for later – for now we must focus on nice things because it’s Christmas. We must think of Father Christmas and his sack of toys, and singing traditional carols like ‘Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart’ by popular music band, ‘The Wham!’ Funny story: I knew a woman called Carol and the thing was, she didn’t like carols. That’s pretty awkward, right?!

I hope you have a happy 2018 and I’d like to wish you much festive cheer and thank you for listening to my assorted musings. A very merry Christmas – and a happy Noah year! Ha! (Is that funny? I think that’s funny). 

Noah Grimes x

A comment from Mr Baxter: 

B+ (This would have been an A, Noah, but I had to cross out several inappropriate words. You shouldn’t refer to SJG as ‘Knobface’ in a piece of formal writing, so suggest you take this bit out. Also, for your information, I don’t have an OFTSED inspection coming up and don’t appreciate your sarcastic tone. Please see me. Mr. Baxter). 

Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of Noah Can’t Even? What have been your best moments this year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl, and I’ll see you tomorrow for the last day of blogmas,

Amy xxx

My 2017 Middle Grade Favourites List

Hello everybody, and welcome to day 22 of blogmas! Can you believe how close the big day is now?! 


Today I’m going to be speaking about my favourite middle grade books of 2017, and since they all are MG, my top 3 books overall of the year.

Onto the books! (And I’ve included a few more than 10, whoopsies! 🙈😂)


 

Who Let the Gods Out/Simply the Quest by Maz Evans-
I’m in love with this modern take on Greek mythology, which tells the story of young carer Elliot Hooper as the Greek gods crash into his life and he becomes embroiled in trying to remedy the escape of daemon Thanatos. As well as the original take on this, I also adore the way this series mixes humour an heartbreaking moments in the best way imaginable, I can’t wait for parts 3 and 4 of Elliot’s journey over the next year or so.

Beetle Queen by M.G Leonard– In my opinion, these books are future classics. The idea, of ultra-intelligent beetles and an evil fashion designer scientist villain who wants to use them to take over the world is something I never thought I’d enjoy, but they have made me love beetles (except for endlessly creepy earwigs). It’s about Darkus Cuttle as he finds his own beetle and many others, and determines to save them from aforementioned awful villain Lucretia Cutter.

Fly Me Home by Polly Ho-Yen– this is Polly Ho-Yen (writer of my favourite standalone MG of all time the Boy in the Tower, for any new readers) and I thought this, the tale of immigrant Leelu and her family, and their problems blended with a gorgeous magical realism element was stunning. I read it in about one sitting when I was feeling ill one day and I can’t recommend it highly enough. After a few rereads I think this one may be very close to my heart too.

Spellchasers trilogy by Lari Don – this is the best (completed) trilogy I’ve ever read, and it’s about a group of young people coming together to try and lift their respective curses. I thought the plot was original, the magic system and worldbuilding were exceptionally good and I thought the main characters were excellent, and I liked that they developed over the course of the books. The construction of the trilogy as a whole was my favourite thing though, since each book had a separate plot but that some arcs weren’t resolved till book 3, which worked well.

The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens– this book was written to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Siobbhan Dowd’s London Eye Mystery, and I thought it was a pretty perfect follow up. I thought Robin was both faithful to the original and put her own spin on it, and it was truly a delight to see Ted Spark and the world through his eyes again. This books sees Ted solving a New York mystery at the Guggenheim museum with big sister Kat and cousin Salim.

 Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend – I anticipated this book for so long that I started to worry it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. If anything, it exceeded them. This was clever, original and witty, with characters I could get behind and admire and love (and in the case of villains/baddies hate) and I thought the plot was perfectly paced in telling of cursed child Morrigan navigating the Trials of the Wondrous Society which will save her from certain death if she gains. This really did remind me of Harry Potter in terms of the imaginative, well described worldbuilding and I’d also recommend it for fans of the Uncommoners books for this reason. 


The Polar Bear Explorers Club by Alex Bell
– this was magical from beginning to end in each and every way. It’s about a group of young explorers on an Artic adventure full of magical creatures, family and friendship, and I absolutely loved the characters (especially Beanie). I also loved the way this book shows and celebrates the importance of kindness above all else. Roll on the next book in what I’ve heard is a series!

And now for my top 3 of the year overall…


Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren
– this is a wintry adventure book that tells the story of glorious, brave heroine Valor as she attempts to save her wrongfully convicted sister Sasha from prison. The worldbuilding of Demidova is incredible, I loved the writing style and the ensemble cast is excellent. It was like nothing I’d ever read before.

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter
– I raced through this in a morning, desperately invested in the story of selective mute Rosalind finding a voice to stand up to bullies through her blog. I cared about each and every character a huge amount, it felt so realistic that I felt as though I could really know these people and I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions from elation to crying. I thought the emdomg was perfect; hopeful but not tied in a neat bow as suited the story, and I can’t wait for Tamsin’s next book.

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
– This is the story of Tash and Sam, who live in China-occupied Tibet, as they journey to India to find the Dalai Lama in an attempt to save Tasha parents from the soldiers. It’s gorgeously written in a way that invokes every sense, the friendship between Sam and Tash is lovely and I fell utterly in love with the animal companions. Gripping, emotional and beautiful, and has never quite left my mind since I read it.

*Note- after writing this post I read a magical, wonderful book called Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy, which I’m adding in as an extra in the general favourites (my top 3 are too fab to be changed!). It’s a glorious adventure books about twins called Arthur and Maudie as they set off to find their missing father and clear his name from the crime he’s been accused of. It feels like a future classic, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it when it comes out in March. I’m making it joint 3rd with Prisoner of Ice and Snow 😊 (cheating a bit, I know. But its way too good not  to!)

Thank you so much for reading! What have your favourite middle grades of 2017 been? Are any books on our lists the same? I’d love to get some recommendations down in the comments!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Books I’m Hoping to Find Under my Tree by Zoe (nosaferplace)

Hello everybody! 

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome my lovely friend Zoe from the exceptional No Safer Place to chat about the books she’s hoping to get for Christmas, similar to my Top Ten Tuesday post the other day. 

Over to Zoe now, and see you tomorrow,

Amy xxx

I rarely ask for anything at Christmas. Christmas for me is about giving and spending time with my family. But if I do ever drop a hint at what I’d like for Christmas, you can bet it’s going to be a book. There’s just something so magical about opening a brand new book, smelling the pages and wondering which world you’re going to get lost in next. So what books am I hoping for under my tree this year? Read on, to find out.

Origin – Dan Brown

I absolutely adore Dan Brown and the Robert Langdon series. I read The Da Vinci Code when I was quite young, but I was just completely mesmerised by this complex book, and the twists and turns that lurked on every page turn. I have gone into bookshops several times since the book’s release, just to hold it and let me tell you – the excitement is strong.

The Silver Mask – Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

This is the 4th book in the Magisterium series. Cassie is obviously one of my favourite authors and everything she writes is just gold dust to me. The series gives off very strong Harry Potter vibes, but is aimed at a slightly younger audience. I read the first 3 on their release dates, so I’m slightly gutted not to have this yet – but I know it’ll be worth the wait.

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

I don’t think this book needs any introduction and I’d imagine if you’re a bookworm that hasn’t read this book yet, like me, this will be on your Christmas book list too. I don’t really have any idea what the book is about, but I know John Green has written it, and that alone is reason enough to give this book a go.

 

Harry Potter: A History of Magic – British Library

Harry Potter has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I was never really interested in the illustrated editions of the books but I think there’s something really magical about this one. The illustrations look incredible and of course, I’m always open to learning more about the series that dominated my childhood.

A Christmas Wedding – Paige Toon

Now, would this list really be complete without a Christmas book? Paige Toon is one of my favourite authors and this short story, with a cup of hot chocolate, under a blanket, really sounds like the perfect way to get me into the festive spirit.

What books are you hoping to find under your tree this Christmas? Do we share any? Tweet me your answers at @zcollins1994!

Check out my book recommendations and blogmas posts here: nosaferplace.co.uk 

My 2017 YA Favourites List

Hello everybody!


Welcome to day 20 of blogmas! Today, I’m going to be speaking about my 10 favourite YAs in 2017. This was a tough choice, and I still love all of the books on my mid-year favourites list too! There’s one book on here that I didn’t give 5 stars as I can’t actually remember why not and I really enjoyed it,  and I highly recommend everything I’ve rated that not on this list too. I’ll be doing a seperate list for MG books in a few days, and I’m leaving it till last as my 3 overall favourites of this year are all MG.
 Note- not all of these are from 2017. Some are books I’ve read this year that were either published before 2017 and others aren’t out till 2018

Onto the books!


The Summer of Telling Tales
– this was beyond heartbreaking. It’s a tough but hopeful read, and reminded me of Jacqueline Wilson at her very best. I think this is massively underrated, so if you get a chance to read it (I stumbled on my copy at the library, for example) please, PLEASE do.

The Exact Opposite of Okay
-I  feel so lucky to have read this already, seeing that it isn’t out till next March. It has a wonderfully witty narrator who made me snort and cackle multiple times and I think a lot of people are going to fall in love with this when it’s released.


This Beats Perfect-
A wonderful boyband YA, with a really nice romance and a prontagonist I loved, as well as a superb cast of secondary characters. I also just really liked the writing style, which felt unusual but I can’t explain how, and I’m looking forward to the sort of sequel that’s due out in February.


The Graces
– this was so chilling and creepy it gave me goosebumps in places, and I couldn’t put it down to revise for my French exam (which I read it on the day of… oopsies). I passed though, so my love for this book remains very much in tact. Also, the last line is GLORIOUS; roll on the Curses right now please!


Radio Silence
– This was another book from my last week of exams, which I also read in a day (the day of my Modern Studies exam). The thought of going back to this got me through a challenging paper, and it’s just phenomenal! Aled is one of my favourite characters ever.


Stargazing for Beginners
– I read this after a bit of a reading slump, around the start of May I think, and it’s just wonderful. Meg is such an inspirational, yet flawed and realistic character, and watching her struggle with caring for her little sister after their mum jets off and abandons them is so sad in places. Her friends, such as Annie, are hilarious, and I also loved her romantic interest Ed.


The Empty Grave-
this was pretty much the perfect finale to a pretty much perfect series. The trademark drama, humour and adventure combo was as slick as ever, and the characters continued to be exceptionally awesome in every way. And it made me cry at the end!


Wing Jones
– I read this at the start of 2017 and it got me through the very difficult night before my MRI scan (which I find really difficult). Wing’s journey of finding her passion for running and falling in love is stunning from start to finish, and I adored the magical realism element.


Moxie
– This is a fierce, feminist read that’s guaranteed to make you want to start your own revolution. It tells the story of Viv as she starts up her own zine and creates the Moxie movement to shake up her sexist school.


Noah Can’t Even
– I genuinely have no idea why I didn’t give this 5 stars. It made me giggle loads and it was amazing fun, and Noah is so sweet and nerdy. DEFINETELY a favourite of this year in spite of the stupidity of past me’s star rating. (Which I have now went and swapped on Goodreads)

EDIT- I forgot a book! One of the most special things I’ve read this year is Forever Geek by Holly Smale, which was the final instalment of one of my favourite series (Geek Girl). I am MOST ashamed that I forgot it, but it’s definetely worth going over my 10 books.

What have your favourite YA books of 2017 been? Do we share any choices? I’d love to read your list if you have one! Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx