Guest Post: The Cake Flavoured Book Tag 

Hello everybody! 

Today, I have a guest post for you from Liv, the fab Cake Flavoured Book Tag, which originated on #bookstagram and was adapted by Paper Fury.

Over to Liv! 


Hi, I’m Liv and I blog at livswonderfulescape.wordpress.com I would like to thank Amy for allowing me to do this post on her blog! This was really fun!

CHOCOLATE CAKE (A DARK BOOK YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE) 

The Sin Eater’s Daughter is amazing to be honest the whole trilogy is great. Say that though I need to polish off the last one.😬

VANILLA CAKE (A LIGHT READ) 

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia is such a lovely book that you could polish off in a couple of hours. I highly recommend it!

RED VELVET (A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU MIXED EMOTIONS) 

This is a hard one but I think it’s going to go to Off the Ice by Julie Cross. After reading it I thought I really enjoyed it but the more i think about it the more I’m conflicted and this really makes me sad because I love Julie Cross.

CHEESECAKE (A BOOK YOU’D RECOMMEND TO ANYONE) 

DEAR MARTIN! DEAR MARTIN! DEAR MARTIN! I don’t think I need to say anymore.❤️

COFFEE CAKE (A BOOK YOU STARTED BUT DIDN’T FINISH) 

I honestly can’t remember the last book I did not finish… actually it might have been Kings Cage ( I know,I know don’t hate me)

CARROT CAKE (A BOOK WITH GREAT WRITING)

 Wing Jones by Katherine Webber her writing is incredible and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I highly advise it.

TIRAMISU (A BOOK THAT LEFT YOU WANTING MORE) 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier one of my favourite books ever written, I could talk about it all day!

CUPCAKES (A SERIES WITH 4+ BOOKS)

The Mortal Instrument series that I have not finished 

FRUIT CAKE (A BOOK THAT WASN’T WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED) 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater  I enjoyed it but not as much as I wanted to. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but I had heard so many great things that I expected it to be incredible.

LAMINGTON (YOUR FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN BOOKS) 

Um Paige Toon always incorporates Australia in here books which I love. She’s also one of my favourite authors!


Huge thanks to Liv for her wonderful post! What are your favourite cakes? Do you feel the same way about any of these books ? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

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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

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!

Guest Review: Mystery and Mayhem pt. 2

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m excited to welcome my wonderful friend Louise to do a review of the second half of the marvellous Mystery and Mayhem anthology. I reviewed part one on Louise’s blog a couple of days ago, and I’m planning to to review this half in the next week or so too 😊

Over to Louise! 
God’s Eye by Frances Hardinge

Newspaper owner Whyte wants a ‘Gods Eye’ view of London. Rival artists Solomon Cork and William Pother are commissioned, although they hate each other so much they refuse to fly in the air balloon together. With Cork flies his young employee Billy. Then Cork falls out of the balloon, and Billy’s friend Susan is arrested on suspicion of poisoning. 

I love the trail of clues in this mystery. It was intriguing enough to keep me reading, and had the perfect balance of believable and out-of-the-ordinary. The set-up gives us just enough people to suspect, and gives Billy reason to care for Susan. Set in the 1800s, it comes across how exciting early flight was. People dream of new possibilities as the skies become accessible to humans for the first time. 

The Mystery of the Pineapple Plot by Helen Moss

It is the 1700s. Ten years ago, a child arrived in England in a crate of pineapples. He came from the plantations, but was kept as a playmate for Lord Catchpole’s daughters. He was named for the words on the side of the crate, Quality First. 

Now Lord Catchpole’s eldest daughter Eliza is engaged against her will to Lord Ponsonby. The pineapple cuttings taken when Quality First was a small child now bare fruit, and Lord Catchpole is engaged in fierce rivalry with his neighbours for the best pineapples. When a pineapple explodes, and a worm bites Lord Ponsonby on the nose, the race is on to find out who put the worm in the pineapple before servant Sam is punished.

Beautifully written. I love Moss’s prose. Her descriptions are so subtle, and often conveyed with action rather than statement. The setting is brought to life through the focus of Lord Catchpole’s obsession with the exotic. As import became wider, new goods arrived in the UK and people became obsessed with the ‘foreign’. Moss shows how what people wanted often wasn’t the real thing, but a very British idea of what another country was. 

This was one of the few stories which wasn’t a murder mystery, and shows how widely the term can be applied. 

The Murder Of Monsieur Pierre by Harriet Whitehorn 

When Monsieur Pierre is murdered, Angelica ‘Jelly’ Beck vows to find out who did it. Was it Lady Osborne, who visited the same evening, or rival shopkeeper Monsieur Leonard?

I found this a little slow-going, but liked Angelica. We are told at the start of the story that she goes on to become a master detective, and the idea that she learned her skills in childhood must be exciting for young readers. 

Safe-Keeping by Sally Nicholls

A necklace is stolen from solicitor Mr Mathieson’s safe, and Mr Contrad is arrested. Young empolyees Billy, Arnold and Stanley set out to find the truth, inspired by the heroes of their favourite ‘tec’ stories. 

The trio of young protaganists reminded me of Katherine Woodfine’s group of young detectives. I LOVE the Sinclair mysteries, so this is positive. I liked how this story was less about the actions which happened, and more about who had the biggest motive

The Mystery Of The Purloined Pearls by Katherine Woodfine

Kitty Shaw’s pearls are stolen from her dressing room. She won’t go on stage without them, to the horror of the theatre producers. Why would anybody steal Kitty’s pearls? 

Did I mention, I love the Sinclair Mysteries? This story is set in the same world. Instead of being told by Sophie, as in the novels, it is narrated by Lil. It was lovely to be back in a familiar world, and to hear Lil’s voice in first person. The set-up is great – a group of people are introduced, and it became apparent that someone’s actions and reactions were a little out-of-sync. A little suspicious

The Mystery of Room 12 by Robin Stevens

James Kahn is left on reception one evening in his father’s hotel. He knows he checked Stella Smith in. Knows she wrote her name and went upstairs. In the morning, her name is gone, her room spotless and nobody believes James. 

Could Stella Smith be runaway Andrea Sandford? If so, what happened? Did she simply disappear? And why are the other guests so keen for him to forget he saw her? 

Unlike most of the stories in the book, it isn’t clear whether there has been a murder or any sort of incident until near the end. I love this format. Robin Stevens is masterful as what she reveals when, and I was hooked. It also had my favourite overall line, about adults: ‘they’ve been around too long, and that means they can’t see what has really happened because they’ve seen too much other stuff already’. Brilliant observation.

Thank you so much to Louise for these fabulous reviews! What did you think of this anthology, if you’ve read it? 

Amy xxx 

Joint Post with Layla of Readable Life: Our Favourite Films and Quotes from Them

Hello everyone!

Today, I’m super excited to be joining up with my friend Layla for this post. The reason it came about is that we buddy read Jenn Bennett’s Alex, Approximately (which features a lot of film references). Layla blogs over at Readable Life, so you can check her out if you aren’t already reading her fabulous blog 😊

Let’s get started!

Note: we haven’t included Disney movies as we both consider them too awesome to pit against other films 😉


AMY

PRETTY IN PINK- As you might know, my favourite ever film is Pretty in Pink, which is an 80s teen movie directed by John Hughes, and stars Molly Ringwald as Andie. It`s about her falling for a boy called Blaine, who`s much richer than her, and her facing the issues this presents. I love basically everything about this film, but my very favourite scene is one in which Andie`s best friend Duckie (who is vying for her affections alongside Blaine) lip syncs to Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. It`s super silly and funny and sweet (and one of the reasons I am a HARDCORE believer that Andie should have chosen Duckie!)

THE BREAKFAST CLUB- This is another film directed by John Hughes, and I`m pretty sure everyone has a rough idea what it`s about. If you don`t it, it follows five teens from different backgrounds as they`re forced to spend the day together in detention. It`s an absolutely amazing film, and I have a couple of `best bits`. It`s a perfect mixture of humour and emotion so my favourite humour in the film is Judd Nelson`s as `The Criminal` and I especially love his quote `Screws fall out all the time, the world`s an imperfect place`.

In terms of something sadder, I love the scene towards the end of the day when the group are all in a circle, when dramatic secrets are revealed about everyone, and new relationships are formed between them (Andrew, played by Emilio Estevez, is my favourite part of this scene)

BRIDGET JONES`S BABY- Finally, I also love the latest instalment of the Bridget Jones franchise, which sees Bridget (Renee Zellweger) tackle life, love and a rather unexpected pregnancy. Almost every scene in this is comedy gold, but I particularly love the labour scene, which is beyond hilarious! You`ll understand why when you watch it.

LAYLA

The Matrix Reloaded – The Matrix Trilogy is one of my most loved trilogies; my dad introduced me to them and we still watch them together. My favourite scene comes from the second movie, where Neo has to fight an entire hoard of Agent Smiths. It’s such a tense scene, with agents coming from all sides, until Neo has to bail. It’s hilarious to see all the agents shrug it off and walk away like nothing happened…

Jurassic Park – My favourite scene from Jurassic Park is the iconic one; when you see the DINOSAURS!! The look on Alan’s face as he sees there’s an actual dinosaur in front of him is funny and mesmerising, and it’s even better when he grabs Ellie’s head and makes her look. There’s dinosaurs in front of them, and the visual effects still astound me – the film is my age and the dinos look brilliant!

The Return of the King – Okay, this one is a tear jerker. If you haven’t watched ANY of The Lord of The Rings films, I would highly suggest watching all three immediately! Also, spoiler warning of course, because my favourite scene is one of the LAST scenes. Okay? Okay.
After the battle has been won and the ring has been cast into the fires of Mount Doom, it’s time for celebrations. For the true king to finally be crowned. It’s beautiful, and it finally feels like there is peace in the realm. Then King Aragorn makes his way through the crowds and greets his friends and travelling companions, the hobbits. Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin begin to bow, as is expected in front of a king, but Aragorn stops them with one line. “My friends, you bow to no one.” This is where the tears come, as the king and the rest of the entire crowd (including Gandalf, Elrond, and many other important figures) bow to the four hobbits. It’s such a touching and moving scene, as these four normal guys from the Shire didn’t ever expect to wake up one day and be thrust into such a huge battle for the world. It’s the perfect ending to a fantastic series.

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear about your favourite films/film quotes in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 

Amy xxx

Exploration of Creation: The Books Which Made Me a Reader 

Hi everyone!

Today’s post is by my lovely friend Katie, who blogs over at Exploration of Creation. Over to her fabulous post now! 

Amy xxx


I have loved reading (and writing) books since I was in primary school – reading a good book has always felt like escapism to me, especially in tougher times, and some of the books we read as children really do shape us into the readers, and people, that we become as teens and adults.

 Here are the ones that have made me the bookworm that I am today.

Daisy Meadows’s Rainbow Magic series

This is probably the book series that I remember most clearly from primary school. The first ever book was called “Ruby the Red Fairy” and it followed best friends Rachel and Kirsty who meet on holiday and discover a whole magical world of fairies together. Okay, okay, it sounds a bit silly now, but I can actually remember acting the books out with my best friend in the school playground. They really inspired my imagination – and I still enjoy reading fantasy, especially female-centric, to this day.

Lucy Daniels’s Animal Ark series

My primary school library had about fifty of these books, and I’m pretty sure I read every single one in the seven years I was there. These books gave real voices and responsibility to the children characters (often the adults were far less sensible/kind). It also really taught about animal welfare and being kind to domestic & wild animals. I think this book really engaged me in books about good people, good deeds and on-going series. 

Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls Out Late

This was one of the first books I read as a young teenager (possibly read it slightly too young, which I’ve been doing all my life, and now read technically “too young” as a 20 year old reading YA). There are so many Jacqueline Wilson books I remember and loved – KISS, Candy Floss, Cookie, Lola Rose, The Illustrated Mum, Best Friends, Vicky Angel. Girls Out Late was one of the first times I read a book about teenage girls, in first relationships, struggling with female friendship and body issues and betrayals. I really think Jacqueline Wilson needs commending for writing the books that she does, for young teens, never once insulting them by shying away from tough topics, instead always shining a spotlight on them.

Cathy Hopkins’s Mates, Dates series

These were probably the best books I read as a teenager. I adored them. Again, similarly to Jacqueline Wilson’s books, they tackled really tough, relevant teen topics, like body image, cheating and friendship. My favourite thing about the series was that last one; the female friendship in this series was strong, a constant topic of focus – something great for teenage girls to be reading about. 

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars

This book was really the book that got me back into reading at around the point I was in sixth form, after quite a dry spell, reading-wise. I read it and it honestly had such an emotional impact on me that it spurred me on to begin exploring YA properly. I think it was perhaps so influential for me because it focuses on cancer, which is hugely significant to me and my family life. It is, to this day, one of my favourite books in the entire world.

J
.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Okay, so this has to be, hands down, the books that made me a reader. That’s why I saved it until last. I can’t remember the exact age I was when I read The Philosopher’s Stone for the very first time, but I know I have reread the entire series every single summer for at least the last 4-5 years. Some of Dumbeldore’s quotes are genuinely things I live my life by. Harry Potter is not just about magical witches and wizards and bad guys – Harry Potter teaches us about the fragility of life, the all encompassing nature of death, friendship, sacrifice, bravery and, perhaps most of all, love. 

I
just wanted to say thank you so much to Amy for letting me do this guest post – it’s such a cool idea, and reading hers had me totally inspired! Be sure to leave your own favourites in the comments section!!

I
guess in summing up what reading means to me, and to many of us, I think, I’ll quote the glorious Albus Dumbledore:

“Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”

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