BOOKISH BUDDIES : Our Favourite Illustrators

Hello everybody!
Today, I’m doing a joint post with Layla, who I buddy read a book with every month and then do a post somehow related to it. Last month, we read Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell, and while we had quite  mixed opinions on the book we did both love the illustrations within, so we’ve decided to talk about some of our favourite illustrators.

Onto the post!


MY PICKS


Leo Hartas (Adventure Island)-
I adore the line drawings throughout this series so much. They make the world so real and I love the way he captures Scott, Jack, Emily, the people they meet throughout their adventures and of course Drift the dog!


Becka Moor-
I adore Becka Moor’s illustrations, especially in Karen McCombie’s St Grizzle’s series, and I’ve been known to buy things just because she’s illustrated them. Her drawings are always so humorous and they add so much to their stories. I can’t wait to read a few more books with Becka illustrating, and even just ogle books without interiors she’s designed the cover for.


Inbali Iserles
– I recently read (and loved) The Taken by this author, and her chapter headers are absolutely stunning. I really hope there will be more of the same as I continue with the trilogy. Who doesn’t love gorgeous fox illustrations? I actually wish there had been a whole new illustration in every chapter, as the same (utterly stunning) ones were repeated througout.

Honourable mention to Kathryn Durst- while I’ve only read one book with her illustrations (Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire, which I adored), I’m pretty certain Kathryn will be a favourite illustrator of mine one day.


LAYLA’S PICKS


Beatrix Potter
–  A childhood favourite of mine, Beatrix Potter’s illustrations are timeless and beautiful. Throughout the whole range of Peter Rabbit stories, Potter uses watercolours to gently bring out the characters and to give them life. The colours she used were so pretty and dainty; I always loved sitting down to stare at the beautiful artwork. My favourite character is definitely Miss TiggyWinkle – she always had spikes sticking out of her shawl!


Brett Helquist-
Brett Helquist’s art can be found in the book series A Series Of Unfortunate Events. It’s iconic, it’s dark, and the characters were so perfectly matched to the book descriptions it thrilled me to bits whenever I got to an illustrated page in the book to take a look at which scene was before my eyes. I particularly loved his illustrations of Count Olaf, with his long nose, spindly arms, and wild hair.


Shirley Hughes
– Ah – my favourite illustrator of my childhood! I don’t quite know why I love Shirley Hughes so much, but it’s something about her sketchy artwork and loveable characters that really made everything come together. There is something so British about it, especially her poetry about the seasons. The accompanying artwork of rain-soaked roads, brown leaves, sunsets and much more just made me feel all over cosy. I think I’ll always love Shirley Hughes’ work.

Who are your favourite illustrators? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl or @readablelife
Amy xx

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The Book Asthethics Tag

Hi everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in the Book Asthethics Tag, which I was tagged for by Laura, whose blog I love! It was created by Michelle from The Reading Hufflepuff.

The rules:  

  • Thank the person who nominated you. Thank you Laura! I had lots of fun wth this!
  • Credit the tag’s creator– Michelle.
  • There’s no limit of how many aesthetics you can make for a question.
  • Make your OWN aesthetics, please don’t steal them from someone else.

Onto the tag!

1. Favourite book of the year- Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth 

As I’ve probably bored you with by now, I’ve had three total stand out sorts of favourites this year, so for ease I picked the one I thought I could make the best aesthetic of.

2. A character you relate to- Coraline/Snow White and Laura Marlin

I was really struggling with this one, so I asked some blogging buddies who I remind them of. Charlotte picked Coraline/Snow White, and Louise picked Laura Marlin. 

3. A character you look up to- Ade from Boy in the Tower 

I admire Ade so much. He’s strong, brave and brilliant. I love how caring he is; that he never gives up even though things are so bleak.
4. An underrated gem- the 39 Clues series

This series is incredible, but barely anyone’s ever heard of it! Please go and check them out; they’re round the globe adventures featuring a feuding family and an unusual, and often deadly, inheritance task that will have you on the edge of your seat.

5. A character who deserves more love- Valor from Prisoner of Ice and Snow 

I think Valor’s an incredible heroine in this book, but I know others who weren’t as keen, hence why I chose her for this question.

6. An underrated OTP; Nick and Harriet from Geek Girl 

I’m not sure if Lion Boy (😍😍) and Freckles are actually underrated, or if I just think they are because I love them so much, but I’m still choosing them. They’re the best and I genuinely couldn’t love them any more together.

Thank you for reading! I’m tagging Kelly and Rebecca. Which of my asthethics do you like best? Do you agree with my answers? Let me knkw in the comments!

Amy xxx

#sixforsunday: Diverse Books

Hello everybody! Today, I’m taking part in the FABULOUS Six for Sunday meme, hosted by the lovely Steph. Today’s prompt was diverse books, so without further ado here are 6 I love!


Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli- I love this book huge amounts. It’s about Simon, who is in love with an Internet correspondent called Blue, as he comes out to his friends and family and everything that happens in his life during that period. It’s so funny and cosy and clever, and Simon is so incredibly sweet. 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli- Becky Albertalli’s 2nd novel is diverse both in terms of race and sexuality, and one of it’s main themes is the main character Molly discovering that being fat doesn’t make her unattractive or inferior, which I think was really refreshing to see in a book! 

The Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries by Robin Stevens- These books feature a Chinese main character in Hazel Wong (who I desperately want to be my best friend/sister, please and thank you) and they explore the racism that ethnic minorities would face during the time period. My heart absolutely breaks for Hazel in some scenes; the way she gets treated can be awfully unfair. We also some LGBT romances taking place, and other ethnic minority characters are introduced as the books go on.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman- This book is incedibly diverse; not one of the main characters is straight, and it’s utterly amazing. It starts off with such light humour and gets darker and deeper as it develops, and also features one of the most evil characters I’ve ever read (I won’t say who, cause spoilers, but I really hate them. If you do too, please come hate on them with me! 😠)

Susie Day- One of my favourite things about Susie Day is that her books are incredibly diverse, and I think it’s done very naturally and explored amazingly. They’re also just generally great contemporary MG!

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson- This books features two trans protagonists, David and Leo, and I adore it. They’re both fabulous characters and there are scenes which take my breath away. I highly recommend it!

What are your favourite diverse books? I’d love to hear in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Blog Tour Review: Curse of the Werewolf Boy Chris Preistly

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour for Curse of the Werewolf Boy by Chris Preistly. Thank you to Faye and Bloomsbury for asking me to be part of it!


Onto the review 😊 


In this book, Chris Preistly tells the story of Mildew and Sponge as they set about solving some unusual mysteries at their boarding school Maudlin Towers, the most important of which is the disappearance of the school spoon. 

It was absolutely madcap and worked really well as a spoof on classic boarding school stories. I liked Chris Priestly’s own illustrations throughout as they often
helped me visualise certain parts of the story, and his dry, witty narrative voice. 
I also enjoyed the characters. I loved the banter between Mildew and Sponge especially, and their conversations with the other boys they live with. A lotof the teachers were really fun too. I particularly liked Mr Luckless and Mr Stupendo.

The mysteries were silly, and quite sweet, but I actually didn’t see a couple  of the reveals I predicted, and I think this would be an excellent starter mystery for younger readers. I really loved the time travelling section of the book where Mildew and Sponge venture to the future, and I also liked the ending. 

I did find this a bit slow paced in places and not all of the jokes appealed to my personal sense of humour, but it’s definetely one to look out for next Halloween if you enjoy time travelling adventures. 

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom¬laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?

Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

Website: http://www.chrispriestleybooks.com/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/crispriestley 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrispriestleywriter/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherpriestley/

Thank you for reading? What did you think of this book? Who were your favourite characters? 

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx 


AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Cathy Hopkins 

​Hello everybody!


Today I couldn`t be any more thrilled to welcome a very special author for an interview.  Cathy`s books were some of my favourites when I was young, and after reading and loving them, I got in touch and still chat regularly via Skype and email . Her book, A Home for Shimmer, is based on my dog Shimmer and book Shimmer has many traits of the real one, which was incredible to read! I`m definitely planning to dip into Cathy`s new book for adults, Kicking the Bucket List, at some point.

Let`s get onto the interview!
1. Can you describe Kicking the Bucket List in 5 words? 

Funny, sad, tale of sisters.


2. What is your writing process like? Do you have any unusual or quirky habits as a writer?

I don’t write on one place, I do have an office but I often change rooms depending on
where feels right that day.

3. Kicking the Bucket List is about a mum leaving behind a `bucket list` full of tasks for her daughters to complete. Do you have a bucket list? What are the items you`d most like to complete from it?

I’d like to go and see meerkats. Visit Sicily. Learn how to cook Italian food. Paint
portraits of some of the people I know.

4. My favourite series of yours has to be Mates, Dates. The characters all so vibrant and also huge fun! What do you think they`d be up to now? 
They’d still be friends. I reckon TJ and Nesta would be university, Lucy doing a 
fashion design course, Izzie at art college. Perhaps they’d share a flat, if not they’d still be in touch and having a great life and would always meet up in the college holidays.

5. Another series I loved, which I barely ever see mentioned, was Zodiac Girls. What gave you the idea for the series? Which of the star sign guardians would you most want to help you, if you got to choose? Do you wish you`d been able to write a book for all 12 star signs?

I was asked to come up with a series about the Zodiac and I thought it would be fun to envisage a world where the planets were all present here on earth in human form. I’d like Jupiter to give a helping hand as it is the planet of expansion and generosity. I reckon Venus would be fun to meet as it is the planet of love and beauty. And Uranus is the planet of surprises and always brings about the unexpected. Yes, it would have been good to write the books for the star signs I didn’t do. I had ideas for them but the publishers changed hands and the new team didn’t commission the last 4 books in the series.

5. Million Dollar Mates is a really fun idea too, where Jess gets to go and live among celebrities. Which 3 celebrities would you most like to live next door to?

David Attenborough because I think he’s an inspiration and has done so much to bring about an awareness of how wonderful nature is into our homes. Colin Farrell so I could look at him out the window. Joanna Lumley because I think she’d be fun and a considerate neighbour.

6. If you could choose any of your books/series to become a TV show or movie, which would you choose and why?

The Kicking the Bucket List because there are 6 great roles for older actresses and I think it would make a very entertaining, feel good film.

7. Finally before the quickfire round, what`s been your favourite moment (or top 3) in your career as author?

Meeting my agents. I’ve been very lucky to find two people who are so encouraging and also great fun to spend time with. Meeting my editors Brenda Gardner then later Kate Bradley. They are both very supportive and are great communicators. Brenda pretty well changed my life as she commissioned the first Mates Dates books and got my career as a teenage fiction writer started. More recently, Kate contracted for my first adult book and so a new chapter of my career has begun. Reading some of the reviews for books and hearing that people are reading and enjoying what I’ve written. 

QUICKFIRE

Favourite season of the year? Summer.

Favourite cake flavour? Coffee and walnut (though am not a cake person, I prefer savoury)

Hogwarts house? Hufflepuff.

Favourite couple on Strictly this year? Susan Calman & Kevin Clifton. Doubt if they’ll win but I like her.

Favourite 3 books of 2017?– Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker. How Hard Can it be Allison Pearson. A Scandalous Affair, the Biography of Jane Digby by Mary.S. Lovell. 

Huge thanks again to Cathy for this interview! Which of Cathy’s books are your favourites? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

See you soon with a new post

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!

#sixforsunday: Thrillers (Scary Books)

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in Six for Sunday, hosted by the lovely Steph and for today’s theme of Scary Books I decided to talk about some thrillers I really enjoyed

Onto the books!


Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy-
This is the story of Jennifer Jones, and what happened the day three friends walked out of town and only two come back. I think it’s better to go in blind for this to really enjoy it, but it’s a slow-burning thriller that’s also, in my opinion, incredibly touching.


The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke-
This is another slow-burner, but trust me, the shocking ending (I gasped, genuinely and audibly) makes it so worth it. It tells the story of Faith, whose sister Laurel was kidnapped when they were children, and how her life changes dramatically when Laurel very unexpectedly reappears. Faith is such a witty, complex character who I really enjoyed spending time, the flawed family dynamics are fascinating and as the subject matter would imply, is completley chilling in places.


Girlhood by Cat Clarke –
Yes, I’m including another Cat Clarke book. #sorrynotsorry. This was part of the Zoella Book Club earlier this year but I read it just before that was announced, and I loved it. It takes pkace in a very twisted boarding school called Duncraggan, and it focuses on toxic female friendships after new girl Kirsty arrives and starts behaving strangely. It’s not a conventional thriller in terms of it being about crime, and I’m not a huge fan of the ending, but it most definetely kept me on the edge of my seat.


The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins –
this is about Indie’s life and how it unravels as Suzie arrives at college and turns everything upside down. It’s such a chilling story, as it feels like something that could happen in real life. Details are revealed at exactly the right moments, at the perfect pace and I genuinely felt awful for Indie when I was reading. I highly recommend this one!


One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
– Described as Pretty Little Liar meets the Breakfast Club, this tells the story of what happens when 5 teenagers walk into detention, and only 4 come back out. It’s fast paced, with characters I fell in love with, and I highly recommend it.


Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie-
This was the first thriller I read, and as that was quite a long time ago I can’t remember a huge deal about the plot. It’s about Lauren as she discovers her adoption possibly wasn’t totally legit, and her journey to discover what happened to her. It all got a bit nuts (even more so in the other books of the trilogy) but it was totally gripping and I loved side character Jam.


Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite thrillers? What did you think of my choices, if you’ve read them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 😊


Amy xxx