The Harry Potter Tag

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m finally going to write my answers to the Harry Potter tag. I’ve been tagged for this three times; by the lovely SarahLayla and Hannah. The only questions I’m not going to include are the ones about the films, as I don’t really like them. 

Let’s get started!

1.  What house are you in?

I have been sorted into every house at least once, but I most commonly recieve and identify with Ravenclaw, so I’m a proud Claw #ravenclawpride 💙💙

2. What is your patronus?

A cat, according to the quiz. A dog, if I’m allowed to choose.

3. What is your wand?

I’ve never taken a quiz for this. I’ll have to do that at some point!

4. What would your boggart be?

Losing my family/dogs. I’m also phobic of snow.

5. What position would you play in Quidditch?

HAHAHAHAHA. Sport? Me? I think you’ve got me mixed up with someone else 😂😂

6. Would you be pure blood, half blood or muggle born?

According to the quiz I’m a half blood, just like Harry 😊

7. What job would you want after graduating Hogwarts?

I think I’d like to be a Hogwarts teacher (I like to imagine I’d be a transfiguration teacher, but I think I’d also be good at Charms). Or I could be a translator for the Ministry when they travel to other countries!

8. Which of the deathly Hallows would you choose?

The elder wand.

9. Favourite book?

Probably Order of the Phoenix. I absolutely flew through it (in a single day,  the first time I read it) and I think it’s a masterpiece.

10. Least favourite book?

I love them all, but I skip good chunks of Goblet of Fire so I’ll say that. I adore Moody though. 

11. Favourite character?

I have a few 😈. Saving one for the teacher question, and my others are Harry and Sirius.

12. Least favourite/most hated character?

I have quite a passionate dislike of Cho Chang, for my least favourite. My most hated is probably Bellatrix, for obvious reasons you can see in my answer to the previous question!

13. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

McGonagall. Easily. Also love Flitwick.

14. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Snape. I think he’s awful, and the way he treated Harry and his class (especially Neville and Hermione) was just something I couldn’t see past.

15. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

Well, the fact I don’t buy the Snape redemption is probably one. Also that I’m not keen on Hagrid. At all. And I love Dobby, which seems to be a bit unusual these days.

Thank you so much for reading! I’m tagging Charlotte and Katie, and you if you fancy doing it! Who’s your favourite Harry Potter character? Let me know in the comments below

Amy xxx

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Ruth Lauren 

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m hugely excited to have Ruth Lauren, who wrote one of my favourite reads of this year, here for an interview.

Let’s get started!

Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for agreeing to an interview; welcome to Golden Books Girl

It’s my pleasure, thanks so much for having me!

1. Can you please describe Prisoner of Ice and Snow in 5 words for anyone who hasn`t read it?

Prison Break meets Frozen

2. What inspired you to write the book? Had you always envisaged it as a series, or did you originally plan for just one book?

The idea began when I was watching Prison Break with my son. I wondered what that kind of story would be like if it was about two young sisters instead (and then if it were set in a fantasy land where I could add all sorts of interesting challenges and twists). 

I actually only planned a standalone, but every publishing house interested in the story wanted a sequel, and once I started thinking about what might happen to Valor and Sasha next, I knew they were right. 

3. The world of Demidova is so vivid and layered. How did you go about your worldbuilding? Were there any high points or challenges during this process?
You’re so kind, thank you!

I wanted a very cold, snowy, frozen world where the elements themselves could cause problems for the characters and bleed through into every part of the planning Valor has to do to try to break her sister out of prison. 

Once the setting was fixed in my mind, the details had to reflect the landscape—the animals that inhabit it, the clothes the people need to wear, the food they might be able to access. My editor was brilliant at helping me think about other aspects that add to making the world feel real—like special celebration days in the city, the history of the prison and the geography involved with surrounding lands and how they might impact on the story.  

I drew on elements of the Russian landscape and traditional clothing but I also wanted to create a matriarchal world where only women can rule and where they often have positions of power. I wanted the sisters to inhabit a world where they don’t have to struggle or overcome (at least not in this aspect) and it would never occur to them that those positions weren’t open or available to them. They see women in every role in the book—from ruler to doctor to prison guard to hunter. That was a really important part of the world to me. 

The whole experience was actually one big high point (or at least it feels like it in retrospect). Prisoner is very different from anything I’d written before and it was a lot of fun to write. 

4. Your heroine Valor, is so brave and I really sympathised with her throughout the book, even if I didn`t agree with her decisions. Who would you say your top three heroines are?

Ok, I’m cheating a little bit here. 

TV: Buffy, Jessica Jones, Lisa Simpson

Books: Katsa (Graceling), Feo (The Wolf Wilder) and Katniss Everdeen

5. Alongside Valor is a variety of other prisoners who form a fabulous ensemble cast. Which character of these is your favourite?
I have a soft spot for little Feliks, but Katia is my girl.  

6. What`s your writing process like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?
I really don’t! Just outlining, trying to write 1k a day when I’m drafting, and wondering how people who listen to music when they write can possibly concentrate.

7. If you could have written any book by another author, what would it be and why?

I would love to steal The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern for my own. Or anything by Laini Taylor or Kristin Cashore or Katherine Rundell. Their imaginations feel so much bigger than my own and I know I could never write anything on the scale that the first three do or with the inimitable style that Katherine Rundell does.  

8. Finally, before our quickfire round, can you let anything slip about the sequel to Prisoner of Ice and Snow, Seeker to the Crown?

Seeker picks up right where Prisoner left off and with Princess Anastasia now missing, Valor is plunged straight into another exciting mission. More crossbow, more icy danger, and I don’t want to say too much, but a certain monarch may vanish leaving Demidova in chaos . . . 

QUICKFIRE

Hogwarts house- I have no idea!

Favourite flavour of ice cream– Salted Caramel 

Animal you`d most want to turn into?- Cheetah

City/country you most want to go on holiday to that you haven`t yet? Florence, Italy
Favourite season of the year?- Spring
Thank you so much to Ruth for answering my questions, and Emily at Bloomsbury for setting the interview up!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this post everyone! I’d love to hear what you thought if this book if you’ve read it!

 Amy xxx

My Smashing September Book Haul!

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m planning to share all of the books I’ve amassed since my book haul this time last month. (Which is actually quite restrained for me 😱😱)

Let’s get started!

READ

So far this month, I’ve read a couple of the books I recieved, which I won’t say much about as I’ll be reviewing them at the end of September. They are;

Going Viral by Amy Alward (recieved in a giveaway from Toppsta)- this is the third and final book in the fantastic Potion Diaries series, and I thought it was the best by far! 

The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan- While a world without chocolate is one of my worst nightmares, it makes for a fabulous middle grade adventure novel!

Defender of the Realm, and Dark Age (not pictured) by Nick Ostler and Mark Huckerby- I chose Defender of the Realm as one of my bookish rewards for doing so well in my exams (along with a few others) and enjoyed it so much I bought the sequel before I even finished it. I’ve now read it too, and I have no idea how I’m going to wait almost a year for the next book 😭😭

BOUGHT

Next up, the books I bought. 

I recieved a couple of others for my exam results (Lorali, which I wanted to read because I LOVE mermaids and Following Ophelia, which sounds fascinating and also becuase Sophia Bennett’s last book Love Song was an absolute favourite last year).

I also bought a few for myself; Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden (just after reading Defender of the Realm, as I’m sure I’ve seen this compared to that), Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer (the 1st chapter of this is utterly hilarious, and as soon as I read the extract I HAD to have it), Stunt Double by Tamsin Cooke (I’ve been meaning to get this for ages, I absolutely loved the blog tour for this and the book sounds right up my alley. Isn’t in the photo as one it’s in won’t upload 😔) and The Boy With One Name by JR Wallis, which I treated myself to on a trip to Tesco as it just soumds the sort of thing I’ll really enjoy. 

LIBRARY 

I’ve only taken one book out of the library this month so far 😮😮😮, but it looks superb. I loved Divided City and Ghost Soldier, so I’m hoping I’ll feel the same way about the Rasputin Dagger, especially as I find the take of Rasputin REALLY interesting. 
RECEIVED

Finally, the books I’ve been lucky enough to recieve, whether from giveaways or from publishers to review. I was sent The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Spy Toys: Out of Control, The Mystery of Me, and last but not least, Worry Angels (which I’ve already sped through, and it was super lovely) from their respective publishers. I’m looking forward to reading the others too, as they all sound phenomenal in really different ways!

The wonderful Georgina from Toppsta sent me a couple of extras with Going Viral (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, and Here be Witches, which both sound UTTERLY brilliant.) I also won a proof copy of A Shiver of Snow and Sky from Scholastic, and it sounds brilliant. 

Thank you so much for reading!

What books have you amassed this month? Where do you think I should start with my pile? Please let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

5 Disney Films I Haven’t Seen Yet but Want To

Hello everybody!

It’s the weekend, yay! Today I’m going to be talking about the 5 Disney films I most want to watch, but for whatever reasonI haven’t got round to yet!

Let’s get started 😊


 Pinocchio- I’m not really sure why I haven’t watched this yet, as I absolutely loved it as a pantomime (I’ve only seen it done once that I can remember, but it worked a lot better than I thought it would), and some of my favourite characters I met at Disneyland Paris were from this film (Gideon jumps to mind in particular). I definetely need to get round to it soon!


Oliver and Company– This film sounds like EXACTLY the sort of Disney movie I love best, seeing that it has music, animals and lovely friendships. (And it’s set in New York, which always tends to be a treat visually!). The last time I tried to get the DVD it was too expensive, but when I check now it’s much cheaper so I’m planning to try and get a copy soon!

EditDumbo- Ive been putting off watching this for AGES (I’ve owned it for years). Why, you ask? Because I think it’s going to break my heart. I don’t do well with bad things happening to animals, especially baby ones 😭. I’m in the same boat with The One and Only Ivan too!

Peter Pan- I had to read the book of Peter Pan when I was at primary school, and I didn’t especially enjoy it. My mum read it with me, and also hated it, but unlike me isn’t especially willing to give the Disney film a chance 😔. I will eventually get round to it myself though!

101 Dalmatians– I haven’t watched this yet because I absolutely adore the book, and I’m worried the film won’t live up to it. I’ve heard it’s lovely to watch around Christmas though, so maybe this festive season will get me to watch it.

Thank you so much for reading! Are there any Disney movies you haven’t watcged yet but want to? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

BLOG TOUR: Firelines by Cara Thurlbourn Spotlight

Hello everybody!

Today I’m part of the blog tour for Firelines by Cara Thurlbourn, and I’m going to be giving you some information about the book and Cara herself.

Let’s get started!

SYNOPSIS
WHEN YOUR BLOOD LINE AWAKENS, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE BETWEEN FAMILY AND FREEDOM?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.

But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
 
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. ‘Fire Lines’ is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old.

Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University. 

She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.

Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.

You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: http://www.firelines.co.uk

BOOK INFO

Release Date: 26th September 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Bewick Press

Format: Paperback

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35581157-fire-lines 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fire-Lines-Cara-Thurlbourn-ebook/dp/B075FTR12K

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear what you thought of this book in the comments!

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Childhood Books/Series

Hello everyone!

Today I’m taking part in the Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted over at the Broke and the Bookish

Today’s theme is a Throwback freebie, so I decided to talk about some books I loved when I was younger. As there is a little bit of an overlap in theme with my Books Which Made Me a Reader post, I’m only going to mention a few of those here so this is bit different! (Unsurpisingly, once I started thinking I got really indecisive and have ended up with slightly more than 10, and that’s the main reason why I’m not talking about many of the books on my other list)

Let’s get started! 😊

MY SISTER THE VAMPIRE by Sienna Mercer- This is a FABULOUS open-ended series aimed at 9+ (currently 18 books long) about Ivy (a vampire) and Olivia (a human) as they dicover they’re long lost twins, and set about solving the mysteries of their past. I’m really overdue a reread of these; especially since I haven’t yet got round to the latest! The first 10 especially are exceptionally good.

TOTALLY LUCY and RAINBOW BEAUTY by Kelly McKain-  Kelly McKain was one of my very favourite authors when I was younger. Totally Lucy is about a girl called Lucy (shockingly 😱) and her ambitions to be a fashion designer and her friendships and romantic mishaps. They’re in diary format, quite silly and funny and also slightly predictable as you get further on, but they’re a lot of fun.

Rainbow Beauty, aimed at slightly older readers, is about Abbie as her family is shattered and she and her mum/sisters move to Devon to start up a beauty parlour and try and make their lives good again. This is a gorgeous series; the first 2 books are brilliant summery reads and the 3rd, Blueberry Wishes, is totally perfect to get you in the mood for Autumn. 

MALORY TOWERS/FIVE FIND-OUTERS by Enid Blyton- I am a massive fan of Enid Blyton (despite a librarian once trying to tell me I shouldn’t be 😑) and these two series are my favourites. Even though I enjoyed the Famous Five books, I think that the Five Find Outers are far superior, and vastly underrated! They’re fabulously plotted mysteries and the characters (particularly Fatty) are absolutely hilarious.

Malory Towers is much better known, and they are about Darrell as she starts Malory Towers (and Pamela Cox has written 6 books about her little suster Felicity’s time at the school too). They’re absolutely excellent!


MY LIFE STARRING MUM by Chloe Rayban-
 compared with my last choices, this book isn’t very famous. It’s about Holly, who just wants to be a regular girl, but isn’t able to because her mum is world famous popstar Khandi. I reread this fairly recently and didn’t love it too much at all, but when I was young it was my go to funny book.

SCARLETT by Cathy Cassidy– I’m still a huge Cathy Cassidy fan now, especially of the Chocolate Box Girls series, but Scarlett was by far my favourite book of hers growing up. It’s the story of misfit troublemaker Scarlett as she moves in with her estranged dad and his new family in Ireland and what happens when she meets the gorgeous Kian at the local lough. This book is still really wonderful when I reread, and I highly recommend it for the hilarious scenes, the touching ones, and the portrayal of complicated but loving family relationships.

SECRET BREAKERS by HL Dennis- Even though I actually didn’t like this series when I first read it, I grew to adore it. I always describe these as mysteries that aren’t about who dun it or how, it’s about what it means. The 6 book series (which is incredibly well paced) tells the story of ‘Team Veritas’ a team if children and talented ex code crackers as they come together to try and work out the contents of the Voynich Manuscript. The charcaters are all super lovable (my personal favourite is Hunter, who is just delightful) and the mystery keeps you reading even though the chapters/books are quite chunky.

PONY CLUB SECRETS by Stacy Gregg- I adore this series about Issie and her dreams of equestrian superstardom as she grows up in New Zealand, and my love grows even deeper with every reread. This is the series that I was most excited about new releases in (I used to read them the day I got my hands on them) and it features one of my favourite romances of all time with Issie and Aidan 😍

THE 39 CLUES by various authors- I’m not sure why barely anyone has heard of this series, but I would love for everyone to read it! They’re very clever, and are about a family searching for clues that lead to a prize which will make them the most powerful people on earth, and this hunt is linked with their ancestors (who in this alternate world are all members of different branches of the Cahill family). I can’t shout enough about these; if you can, please do read them and come fangirl with me!

MATES, DATES by Cathy Hopkins- This is the 1st teen series I read (even though I was probably too young 😂) and I adored them. They’re about the friendships, relationships and family troubles of a group of four girls in North London, and they’re really addictive and fun. I got in touch with Cathy after reading them and she’s now a family friend, and the dog in one of her latest releases a Home for Shimmer is actually based on and named after mine!

ALLYS WORLD by Karen McCombie- These books, which are some of the funniest I’ve ever read, are about Ally Love, who feels like the only normal one in her chaotic family. I adored these books so much that I went to see Karen at the Edinburgh Book Festival and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. I’ve now read almost all of her books (except for a few now out of print and most of her Barrington Stoke titles),  but Ally’s World will always be my favourite (Stella Etc also holds a very special place in my heart)

ADVENTURE ISLAND by Helen Moss- To finish, I want to talk about this series, which I always describe as having changed my life. This blog almost certainly wouldn’t exist without them; they rescued me when I was falling out of love with reading, and they were what made me start reviewing books too. They’re about brothers Scott and Jack being forced to go to Cornwall for a summer holiday (in the 1st books at least, in later ones they’re desperate to get there!) and them solving mind-boggling mysteries with their new friend Emily and her dog Drift. These are truly modern day Enid Blyton style mysteries, and in my opinion, might even be better. I’m also lucky enough to know Helen herself (and have met up for a day of bookish goodness, where she introduced me to another book I absolutely loved; Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear about your favourite childrood reads in the comments below! 

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Blog Tour Review: Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren 

Hello everybody! 

Today, I’m incredibly excited to be part of the blog tour for Ruth Lauren’s Prisoner of Ice and Snow. I read this back in July, and I’ve been super excited for today ever since, as I really couldn’t have loved it very much more! Huge, HUGE thanks to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for allowing me to be part of this tour!

Let’s get onto the review!

*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

In her debut novel, Ruth Lauren transports us to the wintry kingdom of Demidova, where we meet heroine Valor, who has got herself put into prison so she can break her sister out.
Valor is a fantastic character as I really rooted for her, and I also love the supporting cast of the other prisoners who joined the escape attempt as they all felt well rounded and fairly unique, which isn’t always the case with ensemble casts. The book also featured some absolutely chilling villains.

This is super fast paced (and quite a short book), and there was almost constant action that made me want to keep turning the pages. There were some major twists and turns, and they’ll leave you not quite sure of which characters you can trust. 

As well as excellent characters and plotting, the worldbuilding is exceptional. Demidova felt multi faceted and I loved it as a fantasy world.

Finally, I thought the actual writing was brilliant. It struck the perfect balance for me of good prose/exciting imagery and keeping the plot advancing.

I’m unbelievably excited for the sequel to this next year, as it’s by far one of my favourite books this year. 

5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Summary:

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.
No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …
An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable
About the author

Ruth Lauren lives in the West Midlands in England with her family and a lot of cats. She likes chocolate, walking in the woods, cheese, orchids, going to the movies, and reading as many books as she can. She’s been a teacher and worked in lots of different offices, but she likes writing best. Prisoner of Ice and Snow is her debut novel.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Are you planning to read it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx