The Disney Book Tag

Hello everybody! 

Today I’m combining two of my favourite things in the world; books and Disney.

This tag was created by Kat from katytastic, and I was tagged for this by Meg , and I loved coming up with my answers (although I found a few super tricky!)

Let’s begin! 

1. THE LITTLE MERMAID- A CHARACTER WHO FEELS LIKE A FISH OUT OF WATER

I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to many of you that I’m choosing Harriet Manners from Geek Girl. Harriet doesn’t feel that she fits in, and I love her journey of realising that she doesn’t need to be super cool, she just needs to be herself, as she’s pretty awesome.

2. CINDERELLA- A CHARACTER WHO GOES THROUGH A MAJOR TRANSFORMATION 

For this I decided to go with Hazel Wong from the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries. Hazel has developed so much from when we first met her in Murder Most Unladylike, and it’s been a privilege to see her change into someone much more confident and happy with themself.

3. SNOW WHITE- A BOOK WITH AN ECLECTIC CAST

For this, I’ve picked Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren, which has a really awesome cast of characters who are all trying to break out of prison. I loved all of them and I cannot wait for the sequel (I’m also really looking forward to this actually coming out so I can rave properly about in my review on the blog tour and also so you can all read it and rave with me!)

4. SLEEPING BEAUTY- A BOOK WHICH PUT YOU TO SLEEP

For me, I think this has to be Sea by Sarah Driver. This was the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month back in March and I was super excited when I bought it, but I just couldn’t get into it at all, and it felt like a chore to get through it. I don’t think I’ll be reading the sequel.

5. THE LION KING- A CHARACTER WHO HAD A TRAUMATIC CHILDHOOD 

The only character who immediately comes to mind for this is Suzanne from Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard (which you should definetely read if you haven’t yet, it’s phenomenal). Her childhood was so horrific and it’s watching her recover from it that makes BBT a hard read in places.

6. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST- AN INTIMIDATING READ

I’m unsure whether this means intimidating in length or content, so I’ll answer both. The longest book I’ve read is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but in honesty I was so hooked by this point that I devoured it in a single day. In terms of content, I think a book I found intimidating in content was To  Kill a Mockingbird, which I had to read for English last year.

7. ALADDIN- A CHARACTER WHO GETS THEIR WISH GRANTED 

I really struggled with this question, so I fell back on my trusty old BSC to help me (if you don’t know what the BSC is, it’s the Babysitters Club, which in my opinion are amazing and I will not hear A SINGLE WORD against, unless you want to moan about some characters with me 😊)

Anyhow, my answer to this is Stacey (one of the characters I most like to moan about, but I digress), who gets to move back to Stoneybrook from New York, at the cost of her parents getting a divorce.

8. MULAN- A CHARACTER WHO PRETENDS TO BE SOMEONE THEY’RE NOT

This was another question I found tough, but in the end I chose Scarlett from the Secret Cooking Club series by Laurel Remington. Scarlett really finds herself in these books, and she has to pretend to be very different to herself for a few reasons in the first book, and in the second she juggles with being true to herself online (can you tell I’m trying not to spoil the storylines of these for you? 😂)

9. TOY STORY- CHARACTERS I WANT TO COME TO LIFE

This was hard for the opposite reason to the past two- I have so many characters I’d love to meet! I think my top picks would have to be The Gods from Who Let the Gods Out (especially Hermes, who I hated in book 1 and adore after book 2), the Spinster Club Girls (for obvious reasons; they’re totally awesome and have good snacks) and also the characters from Geek Girl as I’ve read them so many times I feel like they’re my friends already. 

10. DISNEY DESCENDANTS- FAVOURITE VILLAINS

I’m hoping to do a full post about this to tie in with Halloween in October, but a few of my absolute favourite villains are every villain from Who Let the Gods Out, they’re all such incredible villains, Lucretia Cutter from the Beetle Boy books and also Cruella de Vil, from the One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith.

I’m tagging Charlotte, Rosie and Andrew! If you’d like to do this, please feel free!

See you soon with a new post

Amy xxx

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Blog Tour Guest Post- Mark Powers, Author of Spy Toys’s Top 5 Villians

Hello everyone!

Today I’m hugely excited to be hosting a guest post as part of Mark Powers’s blog tour for his 2nd book, Spy Toys: Out of Control. Huge thanks to Faye Rogers for inviting me to be part of this tour and also to Mark for this amazing guest post all about villains, several of whom terrify me too!

Over to Mark!

Top 5 Villains

Why do we love villains so much? Is it because they allow us safely to indulge the nastier impulses in our own nature? – the part of us that enjoys seeing hipster waiters trip and fall beard-first into their plates of pulled pork, or the part that makes our hearts sing at the sight of a small child being drenched in puddle water by a passing van. I had great fun inventing villains for my Spy Toys books – including an evil human/elephant hybrid and a megalomaniacal unicorn – and to celebrate our BFFs (Best Fiends Forever), I now present my top 5 list of fictional villains.

5) Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge from James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

I do like a good double-act of blundering baddies and this duo of despicable damsels is a prime example. Vain, cruel, violent and blustering, they make young James’s life an absolute misery. PG Wodehouse once famously observed that “aunts aren’t gentlemen” and no truer word was spoken of this pair of revolting relatives.

4) The Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss

If there’s one thing that villains hate, it’s the sound of good people enjoying themselves and Dr Seuss’s grumpy Grinch (whose heart is “two sizes too small”) is driven potty by the seasonal festivities of his neighbours down in Whoville – so much so that he sets out to ruin Christmas for everyone. We all know a killjoy a bit like the Grinch. If you don’t know who it is in your circle of friends, it’s you.

3) Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

JKR has given us several memorable villains but supply-teacher-from-hell Dolores Umbridge is for me one of the cruellest, slimiest, most vindictive characters ever committed to paper. And that ghastly, little-girly fondness for kittens. Ugh.

2) That Space Bat Angel Dragon thing from The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

I don’t know what this thing is but it scares the heck out of me.

1) The Big Bad Wolf from various fairytales

I’ll come straight out and say I admire this guy. He’s the hardest working baddie in all of literature. And his villainy always proves some instructive point. One minute he’s a brave whistleblower drawing attention to woeful standards in the pig housing construction industry. The next he’s chasing teenage hoodies out of our National Forests. And still he has time to warn snotnose kids about the dangers of prank false alarms. Someone should give this wolf a medal. Seriously.

The second book in Mark Powers’s SPY TOYS series, SPY TOYS: OUT OF CONTROL is out now and available at all good bookshops and online. Find him on Twitter: @mpowerswriter

I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did! I’d love to hear about a few of your favourite villains in the comments 😊

Amy xxx 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Toy Story meets James Bond in the second book of this incredible action-packed series!

Fresh from the success of their first mission, our heroes the Spy Toys – Dan the Snugaliffic Cuddlestar bear, Arabella the Loadsasmiles Sunshine Doll and Flax the custom-made police robot rabbit – are ready for their next task. This time, the secret code that controls every Snaztacular Ultrafun toy has been stolen and all over the world toys are revolting and turning against the children who own them. 

Can Arabella disguise herself as a super-sweet little doll in order to find out more from the daughter of Snaztacular’s top scientist? Can Dan and Flax chase down Jade the Jigsaw, the puzzling prime suspect for the robbery? And can they save the day before the mind-controlled toys forget what it means to play nice?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author Mark Powers has been making up ridiculous stories since primary school and is slightly shocked to find that people now pay him to do it. As a child he always daydreamed that his teddy bear went off on top secret missions when he was at school, so a team of toys recruited as spies seemed a great idea for a story. He grew up in north Wales and now lives in Manchester. His favourite animals are the binturong, the aye-aye and the dodo. http://www.spytoysbooks.com

Guest Post: Quest Reviews

Hello everybody!

Today I’m really excited to have my friend Louise here to write a guest post, reviewing some short stories from the anthology Quest. 

This was set up by the Hay Festival and written by the Aarhus 39- 39 emerging writers under 49 from across Europe, and edited by Daniel Hahn. 

I reviewed  the first half of the collection a few days ago on Louise’s blog , and Louise  also recently reviewed the YA Aarhus 39 anthology Odyssey.

Over to Louise…

Lady Night by Alaine Agirre

This reads like a gentle bedtime story, which is appropriate because it is about three children who are afraid of going to sleep. Wink, Blink and Nod are afraid if they go to sleep, they will never wake up. One night, they follow Sleep’s shadow into a wonderous place. Off all the stories in the Aarhus collections, this stood out as being suitable for the very youngest readers. 

Journey to the Centre of the Dark by David Machando. 

The protagonist wants to always be brave, and protect his little sister. When a monster comes out of her dreams, she says she must take it back to the darkest place inside her mind. The story raises some interesting philosophical questions children start to ask at a certain age – am I here or am I in someone else’s dream? Can I prove this? It was interesting to have this side by side with Lady Night. Machando’s story has a darker tone, but the same reassuring message that fear can be overcome. 

Dagesh And Mappiq Are Friends – Jana Šrámková.

A gentle story about making friends, which was one of my favourite stories. Dagesh is a field mouse with a bad reputation. He wants to turn over a new leaf and make friends, but nobody trusts him. Nobody except Mappiq, who is new to the area.

The pair become friends. When Mappiq hibernates, Dagesh’s new found responsibility is tested to the limits. If he wakes Mappiq early, Mappiq will die. I loved the message of second chances. 

The story is brilliantly illustrated by Axel Scheffler. His illustrations informed how I saw the character, which is always a compliment. I love his animals in Julia Donaldson’s work, and his experience at drawing characterful animals brought this story to life. 

The Day We Left Songstrup by Dy Plambeck

Mikkel is too old to play. He wants to explore beyond the village. Agnes is hesitant, but she goes along with her friends and lets different people in the village equip her for the journey.
This was fun to read, but also worked as a metaphor for the journey into adolescence and beyond. Do you remember being a pre-teen, and feeling wobbly about the idea of leaving childhood? Agnes learns that it won’t all happen at once, and that she’ll have her friends beside her. Songstrup will always be waiting for her when she returns. 

The Travel Agency by Maria Turtschaninoff

I loved Maresi. The community of nuns working to shelter and educate women was a fascinating idea. The Travel Agency is also intriguing. It is set in a travel agency, as you’ve never seen one before. Instead of booking a flight, the customers choose a portal – maybe an object, or a picture if they are feeling wealthy. Turtschaninoff doesn’t tell everything at once. Loads of questions built up in my mind. Why was the girl alone? Did her friend escape?

The Honey-Bee Cemetery by Stefan Bachmann

One of my favourite stories across the two anthologies. I’m a time-slip fan, so Bachmann was already on to a winner, but I love the language, the message and the exploration of historical attitudes. 

Benny moves in with Aunt Lucette, an absent Uncle and two cousins who delight in telling him he’s not a guest, but a burden. Aunt Lucette locks the good rooms a her skeleton key, and puts Benny in the smallest room. Benny can’t imagine anything worse, until he opens the cupboard in his new room. There he finds servant girl Hezra, awaiting execution in a different century. She’s been accused of witchcraft, after she buried some of the Lord’s honey bees. 

The message is lovely – regardless of whether or not they are noticed, the bees continue to buzz. It’s a familiar structure, but it is told beautifully. 

Between the Trees by Katherine Woodfine.

Set in the English Civil War, this is straight out of Du Maurier. A bodice-wearing heroine rides a horse through the forest to escape the Roundheads, and take a message to her uncle. Woodfine is masterful at suspense, and keeps us asking questions. The forest setting was described so well I felt I was experiencing it with all my senses, and I love how the protagonist sees the forest differently now she is no longer treated as a noblewoman. 

The Journey Within – Annelise Heurtier

Aveleen’s father will join the Other Worlds any day. He appears fit, but the tree has spoken, and the tree is at the centre of all things. A new Chosen One must be found, but the tree has rejected every person who has put themselves forward. Aveleen journeys into the centre of the tree to learn who must be the next Chosen One. 

This has a fairytale structure. I loved Aveleen’s development, and how her self-belief grows as a result of her journey. 

Have you read this anthology? What were your favourite stories? If you haven’t read, which stories do you most like the sound of? 

Amy xxx

Author Interview: Robin Stevens

Hello everyone!

Today Im thrilled to welcome Robin Stevens, bestselling author of the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, to the blog for an interview. I hope you all enjoy reading it!

Hi Robin! Welcome to Golden Books Girl, it`s so lovely to have you! 

Thank you for having me, Amy!

1. Can you describe the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries in 5 words for anyone who hasn`t read them yet?

Mysterious, exciting, funny, murderous, friendship.


Continue reading “Author Interview: Robin Stevens”

My 5 Favourite Feelgood Disney Songs 

Hello everybody!

For today’s post, I thought it’d be fun to talk about the Disney songs that always bring a smile to my face, especially as this was the post you said you’d like to be my next Disney one when I did a poll on Twitter. Let’s get started!

In no particular order…

FROZEN- IN SUMMER (sang by Olaf)

This probably won’t be the song that first springs to mind for you when you think of Frozen, but it is for me! It’s such a cheerful, happy, hopeful song and it totally captures Olaf  as a character. The animation throughout the scene where he sings it is superb too; especially the part where he tap dances 😍

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST- BE OUR GUEST (sang mainly by Lumiere and Mrs Potts)

I’m not sure why I like this song, I just do! It’s silly and fun, and I think it’s one of the happiest moments of Beauty and the Beast (which is quite a melancholy Disney film a lot of the time, in my opinion). It’s definetely not my favourite of this list, but I still like it a lot.

THE ARISTOCATS- EVRY’BODY WANTS TO BE A CAT (sang mainly by Thomas O’ Malley. The alley cat 😉. Top points to you if you get that reference 😜😂)

This song is amazing. I love everything about it. The slow bits, the fast bits, the instrumentals, the scene. A fabulous song that really makes The Aristocats that little bit more special (and it’s already pretty fantastic). Also,  Marie the kitten’ s line is ultra adorable and never fails to make me smile and melt my heart a little!

THE LITTLE MERMAID- UNDER THE SEA (sang by Sebastian)

If this song doesn’t make you sing along, I’ll be surprised. Sebastian isn’t my favourite in the Little Mermaid (that honour is reserved for Flounder. He’s a close second though), but this song is easily a Disney classic. It also holds a special place in my heart because when Saffy (my 3 year old Golden Retriever, if you’ve not read this blog before 😘) was a puppy she was a terrible sleeper (she was quite badly behaved in general/exuberant, even more so than she is now). As in, she basically turned into something out of the Exorcist when you left her in the kitchen to go to sleep. This song was one we used to play/sing to her and it did the trick more than some! Even now she’s a big 3 year old, I still sing it to her when she’s scared or upset. Hope you like these photos of her as a crazy pup!

Paws in the air, she definitely just didn’t care…
Stealing a toy from big sis
Stealing from washing line!

My final choice of song may be my favourite of all…

TANGLED- I WANT SOMETHING THAT I WANT (sang by Grace Potter, in the credits)

I know, I know, it’s not technically a Disney song. But, have you HEARD it? It’s one of my favourite songs pretty much ever, and every single time I hear it I want to shout out all the words and just dance. I’m never happy that Tangled is over, but I also kind of am as I get to hear this playing ❤

So those are my favourite feel good Disney songs, what are your’s? I’d love to hear about them in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

See you soon with a new post

Amy xxx

My Awesome August Book Haul

Hello everyone!

It’s almost the weekend-yay! Today I’m going to share my book haul (I don’t know why, but I seem to prefer writing these midway through the month instead of at the end 😂❤). If I get any post during the rest of month, it’ll pop up in my September haul 😊

My book haul is, as usual, quite big, so let’s dive in!

 BOOKS I’VE READ ALREADY

I won’t go into too much detail about these ones, as I’ll be speaking about them in my August Reviews in a few weeks 😊

  • THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF OKAY- I won a copy of this on Twitter, in a giveaway ran by Laura. I’ve been desperate to read it since I saw the announcement for it and I dropped everything to read it as soon as it arrived! It was definitely worth it too, it was fabulous…
  • GASLIGHT- I received a copy of this from Firefly Press, and I read it right at the beginning of the month and enjoyed it.
  • SIMPLY THE QUEST- I bought this at my trip to Waterstones last week and I read it last weekend as it’s been one of my most anticipated reads of the summer. It was even better than the first book, and I’m excited for the 3rd already.
  • QUEST- I’ve not read all of this, but I’ve read quite a few stories for an exciting guest post with my friend Louise.
  • THE GUGGENHEIM MYSTERY and FRESHERS I’ve read in the past few days, and I loved both of them a huge amount! (Huge thanks to the lovely Jess for sending me Freshers!)

WATERSTONES HAUL

As well as Simply the Quest, I ordered in a few other books I really wanted; The Secret of Supernatural Creek (it has been a LONG 4 years since the last Laura Marlin Mystery, but I want to wait and reread the White Giraffe series and previous Laura Marlins before I read this), A Change is Gonna Come anthology (made up of BAME authors, published by Stripes) and The Starman and Me, which I’ll admit I wanted because of the beautiful cover. 

My next choices, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and Another Place by Matthew Crow, are books I mainly bought as I’ve hear a lot of positive comments about them on other blogs. I’m really hoping I’ll enjoy them as much as others have 🙂

I picked up a classic this month too as I really want to get back into reading them. This looks utterly adorable from the bit I read in the shop, and I’m very excited to get to it!

Lastly, I picked up the Children’s Book of the Month: A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan. It looks really interesting and I’ve heard it has mystery elements, so it’s super high on my TBR!

LIBRARY 

I’ve had a few visits to the library this month, and I’ve came home with lots of books each time (hence why I have more books than I’m actually meant to on my card, oopsies 🙈)

These are the books that I had to order in from other branches, and I’m super pleased I was able to get these from the library. I love these authors’ other books, and I’m particularly excited about the Starlight Barking as I totally adore of the One Hundred and One Dalmatians and I only just learned this existed a few weeks ago 😍 

I also picked up a few books based on blurbs, and in one case, a cover so stunning I couldn’t leave it on the shelf (I’m looking at you Chasing the Stars!). I’m hoping these end up being as good as they sound.

RECIEVED

I was lucky enough to receive a few books this month, both from publishers, giveaways and one from a friend.

Along with Gaslight, Firefly also sent me a few of their other titles, which I’m really grateful for.  All of these sound fantastic; I’m hoping (pun intended) to get round to all of them soon, particularly Hope, as it has a hospital setting and it’s had amazing reviews so far.

I also recieved a copy of The Disappearences from Pushkin Press. This sounds really interesting, and I’m excited to read it!

I was super excited when I won a giveaway for the Witch’s Kiss and the Witch’s Tears on Twitter. I’ve wanted to read them for ages and just never got round to buying them, but now I have copies I really want to read them as soon as I possibly can. I also won a proof of Eloise Undercover from Catnip Books!

Finally, my friend Louise sent me a copy of When We Collided by Emery Lord as I loved her other books so much!

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear what books you’ve added to your TBR this month or which of mine you think I should start with in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

See you soon with a new post 

Amy xxx

Review: Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington 

Hello everybody!

Today I’m reviewing Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington, which I feel very lucky to have received for review, seeing that the Secret Cooking Club was one of my favourite books of 2016! Let’s get on to the review!

The book, and Bella the Bear (the bookmark 😊)

*I received a copy of this book from Chicken House in exchange for my honest review*

In her second book, Laurel Remington continues the story of Scarlett, a young girl who loves to bake and whose mum is a career blogger. In this book, Scarlett’s mum is getting married (I won’t say to who in case you’ve not read The Secret Cooking Club), and the plot follows Scarlett navigating how this will change her life. Her mum, who is slightly obsessed with fame, has also insisted that the run up to the wedding, Scarlett making her cake, and the wedding itself is filmed for a TV show.

Confetti and Cake is a really lovely book. The writing style is fast-paced and very easy to read, and the plot moves along quickly (I’d actually have liked some of the plotlines to last a little longer, such as Scarlett ‘s best friend Violet’s issue with adjusting to life without her parents who have died in a car crash). In terms if the writing, I also loved the descriptions, especially in the baking scenes! I don’t even like cakes and my mouth was watering after reading this. If you, like me, aren’t planning to watch the Channel 4 version of the Great British Bake Off, I would seriously getting copies of this series to plug the gap!

Another reason why I adored these scenes is that we got to see the other members of the Secret Cooking Club (which Scarlett set up in the previous book, and in simple terms is  a group of people who get together to cook and bake). I didn’t feel like some of the original members like Gretchen or Alison were just as prominent in this book, but I loved getting to know Violet and Nick better, and getting to see how the dynamics of the group changed with some new additions such as Fraser.

The book deals with some interesting issues too. It explores Scarlett’s difficulty understanding her mum’s attitude to fame, Scarlett’s newfound fame as ‘The Little Cook’ blog and her struggles with that (I personally especially enjoyed seeing her grapple with how it changed her friendships with some of the original members of the Secret Cooking Club) and also Scarlett’s troubled relationship with her dad, who has came back into her life, and her being unsure of whether to forgive him for leaving in the first place.

Finally, I liked the ending a lot as it neatly wrapped up all of the plot lines, left me with a really happy, cosy feeling, and left it open to having a 3rd book, which I’ve already got my fingers crossed for. I have a great time spending time in Scarlett’s world and I’d love to see more books featuring her and the rest of the club!

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read this book? Would you like to after this review? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx