The Eye of the North Blog Tour: Author Interview with Sinéad O’ Hart

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the Eye of the North, a fabulous new middle grade which is released this Thursday (you can read my review here) by interviewing it’s lovely author Sinéad. Onto the questions!

1. Can you please describe the Eye of the North in 5 words?

Exciting, friendship, secrets, scary creatures!

2. What inspired the book?

I got the ‘seed’ idea for The Eye of the North when I was about 21 (a.k.a a very long time ago), and I was working in an office job I really did not enjoy. I came up with a story about a girl named Emma Marvell working in an office job she really did not enjoy – that bit didn’t take much imagining – but her job involved the recording and cataloguing of artefacts relating to mysterious, mythical creatures which were sent in from all over the world by a team of roving explorers. (My job wasn’t half so interesting.) In the proto-story, when an explorer sends in a sample with a dodgy covering letter, Emma gets curious as to what he’s hiding and goes on the hunt to find out the truth. The published version is very different, but the core elements – mythical creatures, the North, a plucky girl and a stowaway boy – were there from the beginning. I have always loved mythical creatures and I’ve been fascinated with the polar regions all my life, so this story has been a long time brewing.

3. I saw lots of similarities between Emmeline and I. Which book characters would you say you`re most like?

I think I see bits of me in Arianwyn Gribble from James Nicol’s Apprentice Witch series, mostly in her serious and slightly worried/responsible approach to things, and in Hermione Granger (I am a bit of a swot), though the Potter character I’m most like, I think, is Ron – food-focused, loyal and a bit afraid of most things. I’m clumsy like Mildred Hubble, stubborn like Lyra Silvertongue, and I’m a hobbit all the way down to my toes (though luckily, they’re not as hairy!)

4. I also adored her sidekicks Thing and Meadowmane. Do you have any favourite literary sidekicks?

Siddy from Abi Elphinstone’s Dreamsnatcher trilogy always made me grin. I love all the kids in Katherine Rundell’s The Explorer, though I don’t think any can really be classed as a sidekick! Of course, the brilliant Malkin in Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart books is a sidekick we all need. The best hero/sidekick team in literature , though, is Pidge and Brigit from The Hounds of The Morrigan. I wish I had a Brigit to this day.

5. The adventure in the book is incredible. If you could choose any adventure, real or fictional, to take part in, what would it be?

Because I trained as a medievalist in another life, I feel I must say I wish I could have been a pilgrim on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I think I would have enjoyed an ale or two with the raucous, brilliant Wife of Bath! I would have loved to take part in a polar expedition, too – perhaps Scott’s, except without the tragedy. And of course I would have loved to see the battle between Iorek Byrnison and Ragnar Sturlusson alongside Lyra and Pan.

6. The book also reads like it would make a fabulous film. If it was ever optioned, do you have a dream cast?

What a brilliant question! I think Ruth Negga would make a fab Sasha, and Oscar Isaac would be my choice for Edgar. I would love Dominic Monaghan for Mr Widget and Sophie Okonedo for Mrs Widget. As for the children – I think finding some new, undiscovered talent would be great!

7. This is your debut novel. What has been the standout moment of your journey to publication, and what are you most excited about after the book comes out?

The standout moment, for sure, was the day my agent phoned to tell me she had sold the book to my UK publisher, Stripes. We had been waiting so long for a UK/Irish deal that I had given up hope of ever getting one, and so that was a true joy. It has been a very long path, and there have been many highlights, but that’s my favourite one. As for what I’m most excited by – I can’t wait to meet readers, interact with people who have read the book, and talk about it with children. It’s such a privilege to write for young readers; they are the best readers. I’m hugely looking forward to learning from them and finding out how I can keep improving as a writer.

8. Finally, before our quickfire questions, can you divulge any secrets about what your second book might be?

The second book I have sold is the story of Tess, who has grown up with no knowledge of her parentage until the day a stranger comes to claim her from the loving home she has always known. She has to uncover who this man is, what he knows about her and her past, and how to get out of his clutches, all before he can use her unique abilities to bring destruction to her world, and many others… (Also, she has a pet tarantula called Violet, who is the real star of the show.)

QUICKFIRE

1. Hogwarts house? Ravenpuff? I am mostly Ravenclaw, a bit Hufflepuff!

2. Favourite chocolate bar? Plain and simple, Cadbury Dairy Milk

3. Favourite colour? Purple.

4. Top 3 books of 2017? The Huntress: Sky; The Explorer; A Skinful Of Shadows.

5. 3 random facts about you? I can read Middle English (and Old English, with a bit of practise); I used to work as a trainee butcher and could pick up a pound of mince, almost to the ounce, simply by eye; I have a fear of balloons

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the interview down in the comments or or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

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My Top Five Favourite Book Couples

Hello everybody!

As it’s Valentine’s Day this month, I’ve themed a few posts in my schedule around love, and today I’m going to be talking about my favourite couples in books. Onto the post!

Harriet and Nick from the Geek Girl series – otherwise known as Lion Boy and Freckles, these guys are my top of top couples. They have so many romantic moments, and even through their ups and downs it’s so clear they’re perfect for each other. I think my favourite moments of their relationship are when they meet under a table, just after the chat show scene and basically all their scenes in Model Misfit.

Summer and Alfie from the Chocolate Box Girls series– of all of Cathy Cassidy’s lovely romances, Summer and Alfie’s is my favourite (I also love Kian and Scarlett, and Skye and Finch). It’s not the focus of Summer’s Dream, but the way Alfie supports Summer in that book through her eating disorder and with the subsequent loss of her ‘dream’ is incredible in my opinion. I only wish we saw more of them in the rest of the series!

Simon and ‘Blue’ from Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – I love Simon as a book, and I think I’ve decided I’ll give the film a go next month. I adore their online romance, and in jokes, and they’re such a sweet couple when they eventually meet in real life. Another thing that’s really fun is not knowing who Blue is and trying to guess, and it’s super cool to see all the clues I completely missed my first time reading as I was so caught up in the loveliness of it all.

Hannah and Sam from Lobsters– I really like Sam and Hannah’s will they-won’t they relationship throughout this book. It’s funny, awkward and reads like the best sort of romcom. I think my favourite moments between them is when they meet for the first time in the bathroom at the end of A Levels party!

Issie and Aidan from the Pony Club Secrets series– Issie and Aidan are probably the first couple I ever shipped (Pony Club Secrets is one of the first series I read, and on every reread it’s held up), and I cannot tell you how much I rooted for them. I love their flirtation during Destiny and the Wild Horses and the moment when they FINALLY get together, and just them as a couple in general until they break up later in the series. I seriously want to reread these books this year.

Thank you so much for reading! Who are your favourite book couples? Do you agree with any of mine? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

The Bedtime Tag 

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m going to do the Bedtime Tag, which I wasn’t tagged for but saw on Jenny in Neverland and thought it would be fun. Onto my answers!

1. Describe your usual bedtime routine

Go to bed, loiter on Twitter/finish a blog post till too late, read, be unable to sleep, read some more, finally get to sleep usually just before midnight.

2. What are your favourite pyjamas?

If you know me/how many pyjamas I own, you’d know this was an impossible question. My favourite type to buy are usually either animals, Tatty Teddy, Snoopy or Disney. I have one Harry Potter set, and a few other random pairs, but they’re my main weaknesses that I can’t leave in a shop.

3. What is your current bedtime reading?

I’m writing this quite a bit in the past (hello future!), so I have no idea what book I’ll be on when this goes live!

4. What would I find on your bedside table?

A few photos of my dogs, a bottle of water, my tablet on its charger and my lamp.

5. What scent makes you sleepy?

Lavender, because I am a cliche.

6.  What is your usual bedtime and wake up time?

I like to be asleep for half 11 when I’m at school (and usually fail), and I get up at 7 for school. On weekends holidays, I like to sleep in till 8 or 9.

7. What are your top three bedtime products?

I only ever use micellar water to take off makeup if I’ve worn any, and sometimes don’t even do that.

8. What is your most common sleeping position?

On my side, facing my wall.

9. Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

Like Jenny, I always have my teddy (albeit mine is a tiger called Liam) with me in bed.

10. What’s your worst bedtime habit?

Staying on my tablet too long, I really must stop this habit!

Thank you so much for reading! I won’t tag anyone, as I don’t know who’d like to do this, but  if you feel like it feel free! I’d love to hear if we have anything in common at bedtime down below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: The Animal Crossing Book Tag by @aimee_louise_l

Hello everybody!

Today, I have a guest post from my lovely friend Aimee Louise, which is a book tag we created together. I’m answering the questions over on her blog today, if you want to see my answers! 

 Tom Nook – a book that fleeced you – Best twist/cliffhanger

The Great Chocoplot. HOW CAN WE HAVE A WORLD WITH NO CHOCOLATE? Seriously, if this isn’t a shock horror twist then I don’t know how we can be friends.

Harriet – a book that misses the mark

For me, this is One Of Us Is Lying. As much as I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it. I’d guessed THAT twist almost instantly and I guess I was expecting more from it. The hype surrounding it was massive, and I’m probably going to get a lot of grief for my opinion. Sorry guys, I just didn’t love it. 

Celeste – an underrated character

There are SO MANY characters who are underrated and I’m finding it difficult to choose just one. For me, it is going to have to be Isabelle Richardson from Little Fires Everywhere. She has some wonderfully hidden qualities that could really blossom into something great with the right nuturing and I hate the fact that her own family don’t give her enough credit or allow her to be herself. 

Mabel – a book that’s bright and sunny
A joyful, uplifting read? I’m not entirely sure I know what those are. I have a tendency of going down the more dark and twisted bookish path so light-hearted, feel good reads aren’t really my thing. However, Sealed With A Kiss by Rachael Lucas fits this criteria perfectly AND it is such a gorgeous book. This book made me want to broaden my bookish horizons and it not only got me out of a MASSIVE reading slump but it also arrived at a time when I really needed something heart-warming and comforting. Set in Scotland, this book is perfect escapism.

Timmy and Tommy – a book featuring twins
Double Act. One of my absolute favourite childhood books which I read when I was about 6 or 7 years old. Ruby and Garnet are two very different twins and I loved that the fact they were a mirror image of each other did not reflect their personalities. 

KK Slider – a book featuring music

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Oh how I LOVE this book. If you’ve not read this yet, then where have you been hiding because it is phenomenal. The music that is included within this book is brilliant. Seriously, perfect mixtape material.

Dr Shrunk – a book featuring an eccentric character

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. I don’t think I need to say anymore than that really.

Crazy Red – a book with thieves

The Book Thief. Another one of my all time favourite books which is about a girl called Liesel who steals books and befriends a Jewish man. It is SO much more than that really. But, books are important for minds and friendships. Just saying.

Pocket camp – A book set in a camp

Ok, so I may be cheating slightly with this one by recommending The Dream Snatcher trilogy. BUT becoming a part of Moll’s tribe back in 2015 when she stormed her way onto the scene with a Wildcat in tow, I could NOT miss this out. Seriously, saying goodbye to Moll and her tribe was heartbreaking. I’m still not over it.

Gulliver – a book that takes you on an adventure

The Wolf Wilder takes you on a wolf-riding adventure. I mean seriously, do I need to sell this to you anymore? 

Kicks – a book that’s like a new pair of shoes – a book you really clicked with

I have clicked with SO MANY books. Seriously, some of the characters who I’ve journeyed with in their various worlds have really spoken to me and found a way into my heart. However, Under Rose Tainted Skies is the book which I resonated deeply with especially when trying to get a better understanding of my own Mental Health.

Porter – a book which transports you to a new world – a book with brilliant world building

Sky Song, without a doubt is a book which transports you to a whole new world. I was so engrossed in the world of Erkenwald, that reality just totally slipped away and left me to embark in some extreme wintry conditions in order to defeat the Ice Queen. 
I tag Rebecca @_rebeccastobart, Chelley @chelleytoy and Hannah @cupofwonderland


Aimee Louise

The Guilty Reader Book Tag 

Hello everybody! Today, I’m doing the Guilty Reader Book Tag, which I was tagged for by Lucy-May. Onto the post! 


 1. Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?

No, but if I get a gift and don’t enjoy the book when I read it, I do what I tend to do and take it a charity shop/second hand book shop.


2. Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?

Kind of. I skipped a couple of chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird last (lovely English teacher, if by some odd chance you’re reading this, I am sorry. I read most of them, promise). I really liked the story, but Scout’ s ‘voice’ could not have irked me any more.


3. Have you ever borrowed a book & not returned it?

I’ve taken my time to return things, but no, I have never just not returned something. I think this is partly because to this day I regret loaning my copy of Ways to Live Forever to a human who a) did not read it that I am aware of, and b) did not give me it back.


4
. Have you ever read a series out of order?

I have, but it makes me very uncomfortable and I hate doing it. I did it with one of my favourite series , Pony Club Secrets (I read book 4 first, and was hooked but very confused, then went back to the start and devoured them, and each new book as it came out)


5. Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

Not to my recollection, and certainly never intentionally if I have.


6. Have you ever doggy eared a book?

No, but some second hand copies I own do have dog eared pages. I really don’t like the feel of them. I do crack spines though (not intentionally, just by the way I hold books I presume)


7. Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?

Not that I can remember.


8. . Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

See my answer to question 2! And I’ve also skipped to the end of books I’m not enjoying.


9. Have you ever badmouthed a book you actually liked?

Again, not that I can remember. If I like a book, I like to shout about it far and wide.


Thank you for reading! Are you guilty of any of these? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
I’m tagging anyone who wants to do this 💜


Amy xxx

5 Films I Watched in November/December

Hello everybody!


Today, I’m doing a post about the films I watched and very much enjoyed in late November/December. As you go through this post, you’ll realise how obsessed with Disney I am, if you haven’t already! 😂


Olaf’s Frozen Adventure
– I  went to see this in the cinema at the very end of November, and it was worth every stare for being the only people there unaccompianed by a child. I’ll preface this by saying I LOVE OLAF. He’s the sweetest of all sweet things, and this film is basically all him. It’s about him trying to find a new holiday tradition for himself, Anna and Elsa. He’s as adorable as ever, and I essentially sat in tears throughout because I loved this so much, and I am not ashamed.


Oliver and Company
– this film was so, so cute. It’s Oliver Twist with animals (which made me like it a whole lot more). I loved Oliver, his friends and thought hostile dog Georgette, who is annoyed when Oliver invades her home, was hilarious. I sobbed through certain scenes and got very worried about all the characters during the climax, and I adored the happy ending that ticked every box I wanted it to. I definetly think I’ll be watching this again!

A Christmas Prince
– this was cheesy, predictable and an AWFUL lot of fun! I really liked main character Amber, and her love interest Prince Richard. I thought the supporting cast were excellent too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up watching this over Christmases to come. If you’re one of the (seemingly) few people who haven’t watched this, it’s about a journalist as she journeys to Aldovia in order to dig up dirt on the royal family, and especially the Prince, of the country.


Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo-
yes, I watched a film about Easter at Christmas. And it felt very odd, but my goodness was it glorious. I have shamefully never seen any Winnie the Pooh films despite thinking the characters are lovely. It’s about the Easter when Rabbit mysteriously refused to organise anything, and the rest of the gang trying to convince him otherwise for little Room’s sake. It was so sweet, the animation was whimsical, classic and picturesque, and the friendship and sheer joy throughout really made me smile. Also, my older dog is a mixture of Rabbit and Eeyore, so I burst out laughing quite a lot!


Pretty in Pink
– as you may know, this is basically my favourite film of all time, and if I included it in one of these posts every time I watched it then it’d probably be in them all. It’s about Andie as she navigates high school drama and chooses between rich boy Blaine and best friend Duckie romantically (I like Blaine, but I’m Team Duckie ALL THE WAY). It makes me laugh, it makes me cry and I love each of the main trio with all my heart, and hate their enemies on a similar level. The soundtrack is also fab. If you love this too, please come fangirl with me about it!


What films did you love in November and December? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl


Amy xxx

Top Ten Tuesday- 5 Books I Barely Remember 

Hello everbody!


Today I’m taking part in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl. Like last week, I couldn’t come up with 10, so have decided to go for 5 Books I struggle to remember. This is in no way a reflection of the quality of the books- just that I read them YEARS ago. Onto the books!

 

Trouble by Non Pratt
– I remember a few things about this book (two parts of the plot), the names of the two lead characters and one side one, and that’s about it. In my defense, I think I was a bit young to fully grasp it at 12/13 and I think I’d probably remember much more if I read it agiam (now just to track down a copy…)


Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
– I loved this book. I thought the narrative style was so, so clever and I’ve never read anything like it. But I’m so fuzzy with the events of this book. I remember the set up, and the fact the main character’s called Zoe. I’d really like to reread it to see how I feel about it now!

Where Monsters Lie by Polly Ho-Yen
– if you know my love for Boy in the Tower/Fly Me Home, you’ll be surprised by this. But I really did not like this,  and I was so upset I think I’ve just blocked it from my memory. I know it’s about slugs, I recall the name of the main character and the fsct I detested it, other than that, not a squeak.


Wonder by R.J Palacio
– I enjoyed this, even though it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. I genuinely don’t remember a single event in this now.


The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton
– I think these are my least favourite Blyton books. They’re massively overrated, if you ask me (JUSTICE FOR THE FIVE FIND OUTERS, THEY ARE THE BEST AND NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE!) And I only really remember the name of the dog, and something about secret passwords to enter their clubhouse?


Thank you so much for reading! Are you a little foggy on the events of some books? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx