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!

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#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 

The Rapid Fire Book Tag

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in the Rapid Fire Book Tag, which I was tagged for by the absolutely lovely Bex, of My Shelf and Myself

Onto the questions!


1. Ebook or physical books?

DEFINETELY physical books. I like the feeling of a book in my hamds, and ebooks really hurt and strain my eyes too much to read them.

2. Paperback or hardback?

While I think hardbacks can be pretty, they’re just too cumbersome to get properly comfy with and they’re also very expensive. Paperbacks.

3. Online or in-store book shopping?

I go to actual shops more often, and prefer that as an experience (e.g getting to browse), but I also order online and can see the benefits of that.

4. Trilogies or series?

Series! I love nothing than getting to know characters over a long series, and some of my favourite books are series.

5. Heroes or villains?

Heroes, for me. I’m a fan of a good villain, but I adore rooting for a hero (hoewever flawed) and getting behind them.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

I think I’ll go for Boy in the Tower for this one. I barely ever hear it being mentioned, and it’s so underrated!

7. Recommend an underrated book?

See the above answer, oops!

8. The last book you finished?

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager (scheculing this in advance!). Spoiler: I loved it quite a bit.

9. The last book you bought?

(Again, scheduling this in advance): the 2nd It Girl book by Katy Birchall. I realky enjoyed the 1st one and have been meaning to track this one down since it came out.

10. Weirdest thing you’ve ever used as a bookmark?

When I was younger, I used other books 🙈🙈🙈. Hence why all my childhood faves are basically falling apart.

11. Used books: yes or no?

I quite like used books! I’m not mega fussy about how my books look, as long as the contents are good.

12. Three favourite genres?

Why not read my post on this very subject, to find out? 😜😉

13. Borrow or buy?

I do both pretty much equally. I love owning books so I canreread the ones I really love, but I also really enjoy being able to support my local library.

14. Characters or plot?

Both are really important for a brilliant read, but I’m more drawn to character.

15. Long or short books?

I like between 300-400 pages usually.

16. Long or short chapters?

Short chapters! Makes me feel like I’m accomplishing so much more when I only have a short time to read. It also makes it easier to set targets.

17. Name the first 3 books you think of.

Spellchasers, Nevermoor, Wizards of Once. 

18. Books that made you laugh or cry?

Laugh- Lobsters, Holly Smale, Holly Bourne, Editing Emma

Cry- Boy in the Tower always makes me emotional, partially because I love it so much now, I think

19. Our world or fictional worlds?

I’d like to visit some fictional worlds, but I think I’ll stay living in ours at the monent.

20. Audiobooks; yes or no?

No for me, as I don’t read them, but I have nothing at all against them and they help a lot of people to read.

21. Do you ever judge a book by it’s cover?

Yes! A nice cover can definetely influence me into reading something.

22. Book to movie or TV adaptations?

Dont have a preference!

23. Movie/TV show you preferred to its book? 

Easily the John Green adaptations to date. Hated the books, totalky love the movies.

24. Series or standalones?

Series for sure! As I said, I love getting to see characters develop over a period of time and go on more than one adventure with them.

I really hope you enjoyed reading my answers! I tag Layla and Amy-Louise if they’d  like to do this.

See you soon with a new post,

Amy xxx


AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Karen McCombie

Hello everybody!

Today, Im absolutely thrilled to welcome Karen McCombie, who wrote some fo my favourite series of all time (such as Ally’s World and Stella Etc) and whose books I still love today. Huge thanks to to Kirstin from Barrington Stoke for setting this up.

Let’s get started!


Hi Karen! Welcome to Golden Books Girl!

Hi there, Amy! I haven’t been to the Edinburgh Book Festival in a while, so we haven’t had a chance to meet up in real life for AGES, have we? But it’s lovely to hook up in the world of book blogging at least!

1. Can you describe your latest release, The Mystery of Me, in 5 words or less for anyone who hasn`t read it?

School story – with a twist!

2. What inspired you to write The Mystery of Me? 

I LOVE teenagers. I WAS one (obvz), and I’ve currently GOT one (my darling Milly, age 15). But teenage years can be tricky… some people can be pretty mean to others without thinking of the consequences of their actions, how deep words can wound. This was the starting point of the story, and everything else just slotted in around it really quickly, once that spark took hold. 

3. What`s your writing process like? Do you have any unusual habits or quirks?

I have a little writing office at home that’s very cute but about the size of a big cupboard. The thing is, I do get restless being stuck in there ALL day, so most mornings I walk through the park and go to the nearby garden centre, where I work on my laptop in their cafe. It’s a brilliant spot… I write, drink tea, smell the flowers and – as it’s a dog-friendly caff – I get to meet lovely pooches too! (Don’t tell my cat, who likes keeping me company in the writing cupboard…)

4. Does anything about your process change when you`re writing for Barrington Stoke as opposed to other publishers? Does it pose any challenges when writing in this format?

In general, I really enjoy writing in different styles – the change of pace from book to book is brilliant fun and challenging too. Barrington Stoke specialize in super-readable books that everyone can enjoy, whether they’re confident readers or dyslexic, so working for them is a fascinating process. You have to write a short-length book with a punchy, appealing story, while always being mindful of the sorts of spellings and complex sentences that might trip up struggling readers. 

5. What are your favourite things about writing?

I LOVE coming up with a new book idea. And I LOVE writing the last chapter of every book, when you pull the whole story together. The big bit in the middle can be kind of tricky and hard sometimes, like climbing up a mountain and never getting closer to the top!

6. In the past few years, you`ve mainly written historical/timeslip novels. What inspired you to make that change? Do you prefer writing in historical or contemporary settings?

It all started a few years ago with my then editor Helen asking if I fancied trying my hand at writing a novel about evacuees… I think she was slightly nervous suggesting it to me, since my books were all contemporary, but I’m a bit of a history nut on the side, so I said “ooh-yes-please!” very quickly. That was ‘Catching Falling Stars’, and since then I’ve written timeslips ‘The Whispers of Wilderwood Hall’ and ‘The Pearl in the Attic’. Like I say, I’m more than happy to try my hand at any and all styles – I’ve got a potential new project on the go at the moment that’s COMPLETELY different from anything I’ve done before!

7. I think my favourites of your books have to be the Ally`s World and Stella Etc series. What do you think those characters would be getting up to now? Would you ever return to their worlds

Someone once said to me, wouldn’t it be fun to write a book where Ally and Stella meet up and become friends when they’re older? I’ve never done anything about it, but I still noodle around with the idea now and then!

8. Finally, before the quickfire round, can you tell us anything about what you`re working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing the fourth in my younger, funny series, ‘St Grizzle’s’, which is based in a bonkers boarding school. I’ve also written another historical book, this time set on a Scottish island. That should be coming out early summer next year, I think. As Lola from ‘Charlie and Lola’ would say, this new book is my favourite and my best, so I hope you’ll like it too! 

QUICKFIRE

Hogwarts house? Collywobbles. Yes, I just made that up. Yes, I am ashamed to say I am one of the two people in the world who haven’t ever read ‘Harry Potter’. I KNOW!! #shame  

Favourite bar of chocolate? Anything with nuts in. #nuts #nom. 

Which animal would you most want to turn into for a day? Anything with nuts in. #nuts #nom.

Your 3 favourite reads of 2017?

• ‘Little Bits of Sky’ – S.E. Durrant (so sweet, so moving, so uplifting)

• ‘Instructions for a Second-Hand Heart’ – Tamsyn Murray (heart-wrenching story, and what a title!)

• ‘Alphonse, That is Not OK To Do’ – Daisy Hurst (I LOVE picturebooks and this one is brilliantly funny)

What are you most excited about for winter? Please, oh please, oh PLEASE let there be snow this year. I live right beside Alexandra Palace in North London, which has a huge park with excellent slopes for sledging. Everyone is out, slithering down the hill, drinking hot chocolate from the café, having the best time. And I love seeing all the dogs in the park go mad too, boinging through the snow like they’re on springs!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this interview! What are your favourite Karen McCombie books? Are there any on your TBR? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx


Blog Tour: Lari Don’s Favourite Myths

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome Lari Don as part of her blog tour for the phenomenal Spellchasers trilogy. I hope you’ll enjoy reading her post as much as I did!


I love the old stories. I love myths, legends, fairy tales and folktales. I love them so much I want to rub them with my sleeve and make them shiny and new (just like Aladdin’s lamp…) 

I try to make them new in two ways:

I retell them, out loud to audiences and in books. When I retell traditional tales, I quite openly tweak or change or rip them apart (because oral stories have always been changed by storytellers, that’s how they evolve.) 

I also make the old stories new by taking little snippets of magic and monsters and bouncing off them to create fictional adventures of my own. 

As a child, I loved dragon stories. Dragons are the perfect magical monster. The size! The fire! The teeth! The wings! And there are dragon stories from all over the world, so you can travel round the globe from dragon tale to dragon tale. 

Favourite dragon story: The Laidly Wyrm (from North of England, about a girl who is cursed to turn into a dragon) 

The first connected series of stories I discovered were the Greek myths, with all that family drama, and all those wonderful creatures like centaurs and minotaurs, which made me want to create my own mix and match monsters with scissors and glue…

Favourite Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur (how to defeat the monster in the maze)

I also grew up loving shapeshifter stories, because Scottish folklore is filled with shapeshifters, like the kelpie (an underwater monster who can become human or horse to lure children to the water) and the selkie (who can be human or seal, and is often forced to stay on land when an unscrupulous fisherman hides her sealskin) 

Favourite shapeshifter story: The Tale of Tam Linn (from the Scottish Borders, about a boy stolen by the Fairy Queen) 

As I read more widely, I fell in love with the Viking myths. These are the myths that speak to me most clearly, possibly because they’re set in harsh rocky winter, rather than Mediterranean sunlight. I love the stories of Fenrir the wolf, Kara the Swan Warrior, and Ragnar Shaggy-Breeks. 

Favourite Viking myth: The Death of Baldur (the story I tell most often to 11 year olds…) 

I’m always searching for my favourite stories of all: stories with strong female protagonists. My quest for girls who defeat their own monsters has so far led me to Inanna the Sumerian goddess of love and war, to Nana Miriam the Nigerian girl who defeated a fire-breathing hippo, to Chi the Chinese girl who defeated a seven-headed dragon, and to many more… 

Favourite heroine story: Tale of Tam Linn again! (Because the Scottish boy who was stolen by the fairy queen, was saved by a girl called Janet)

All these traditional tales inspire my adventure novels. For example, there are dragons, centaurs and minotaurs in the Fabled Beast Chronicles. 

And my new Spellchasers trilogy is filled with shapeshifters, with characters who relish their power to change into horses and crows, and characters who are trapped as toads and hares. The biggest villain in the trilogy is inspired by a mix of Sumerian and Egyptian mythology, and the curse-lifting workshop at the heart of the book has a sphinx as a pupil.

And all my adventure books contain strong girls (as well as strong boys, and intermittently useful magical animals…) 

I love the old stories. I love writing new stories inspired by the magic of the old tales. And when the new stories are written, I settle back down and lose myself in the old stories again. I wonder what story I will rub with my ragged sleeve next… 

About the Author


Lari Don is a full-time children’s writer and storyteller. She grew up in the North East of Scotland and now lives in Edinburgh. She writes in her garden shed, helped by purring cats and hindered by lurking spiders. Lari has written more than 20 books, including adventure novels, picture books and retellings of traditional tales.  She can be found on Twitter @LariDonWriter or at http://www.laridon.co.uk

The Spellchasers trilogy is available and out now.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite myths? Do you love retellings of them? What are your favourites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Amy xxx

My 5 Favourite Disney Villains

Hello everybody!

As a sort of Halloween themed post, I thought it would be fun to share my five favourite Disney villains today. There are sone absolutely ones and it was very hard to narrow down my list to 5. 

Onto the baddies!

Mother Gothel, from Tangled- Mother Gothel is an excellent villain; she’s sinister, creepy and manipulative. It’s incredibly fun to love to hate her, and Mother Knows Best is incredibly catchy.

Dr. Faciler, from the Princess and the Frog- Even though the Princess and the Frog isn’t my favourite Disney film by a long shot, I do love it’s villain. He’s sneaky, and clever, and uses some really interesting dark magic throughout. 

Ursula, from the Little Mermaid- Like Mother Gothel, I love to hate Ursula. She’s just plain EVIL, with what she does to Ariel in this film. I love the fact the she has menacing sidekicks to do her bidding, in Flotsam and Jetsam.

Shere Kahn, from the Jungle Book- I find Shere Kahn fascinating. Is he really the villain of the Jungle Book? Sure, he hates Mowgli, but only because humans have hurt him and his jungle. I actually feel sorry for him to be honest. Plus, tigers are my favourite animal, so I kind of have to love him!

Scar, from the Lion King- Yes, I saved the best for last. Scar is chilling, callous and coldhearted; his actions during the film are despicable and every scene he’s in sends shivers down my spine. He’s the ultimate baddie. On a more frivolous note, Be Prepared is quite possibly my favourite Disney song of all time, and Scar also spawned one of my favourite GIFS 😁

Thank you so much for reading! Who are your favourite Disney villains? Why do you love to hate them? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments!

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx

#sixforsunday: Books That Made Me Cry

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in Steph’s fabulous Six for Sunday meme, and today’s theme is books that made us cry. I cry at quite a lot of books, so I’ve decided to speak about six which particularly emotionally destroyed me! 😭

Let’s get started! (In noparticular order)

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen – Im not sure what it is about this book that makes me cry. I think it’s Ade. His bravery and narration is wonderful; the real star attraction of the story, and also the community spirit we see as the book progresses. Even the opening pages make me well up now, because I know all of the journey that’s to come.

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter- This has been one of my favouritereads this year, and it made me incredibly emotional. I cried quite a bit, but I also laughed and smiled. It’s a very special book, and I can’t wait to reread it and read more from Tamsin Winter. 

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth- Like the above, this book is a total emotional rollercoaster, and I cried several times. In one scene involving the yaks (which I won’t spoil), Jess Butterworth broke my heart. She put it back together by the end though, and her writing is so stunning and special I don’t mind anyway.

Summer’s Dream by Cathy Cassidy- Summer’s struggle with anorexia, which we see in this book most prominently, is devastating, and certainly made me cry in places.

Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls- Sam’s story tore my heart apart, and the ending cemented this. It’s such a beautiful, heartwarming and heartbreaking story, and even though I barely ever hear anyone mentioning it anymore I think it’ll stay with me forever. 

Trash by Andy Mulligan- this story tells of 3 boys in a 3rd world country, eho have to sift through trash to survive. The subject matter is heartwrenching, and all too real, and it’s the first book I remember being absolutely broken by. I can’t remember everything about it now, as it’s quite a few years since I’ve read it and I’m too scared to pick it up again, but it had a huge effect on me at the time. 

Thank you so much for reading! What books made you cry, if any? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx