5 Books Set in Summer Camps

Hello everybody!

Today, since it’s a setting I find really fun in books (despite knowing 100% I’d HATE going to one, and that we don’t really have them in the UK), I’m going to be talking about 5 books I’ve really enjoyed that are set in summer camps. Onto the post!


How Hard Can Love Be?- This is the 2nd of the Spinster Club trilogy, which I adore. This one is narrated from Amber’s point of view, and sees her travel to America to stay at her mum and stepdad’s summer camp for the summer. I loved all the different activities and customs of the camp was , Amber was a fun narrator who made me laugh and the scenes we get between the 3 Spinsters were as excellent as ever, Amber’s relationship with her mum (who’s a recovering alchoholic) was really interesting but pretty heartbreaking and I absolutely loved the love interest Kyle and their romance.

Spells and Sleeping Bags– this is the 3rd book inthe All About Rachel series, which I read when I was younger and really loved. They’re about Miri and Rachel, who are teenage witches, and this one sees them head off to summer camp and Rachel face off against Liana, who seems to hate her for no apparent reason. I remember being really shocked when who Liana is was revealed and not much else, but if you like funny books blending magic and contemporary you’d probably enjoy this series.

Babysitters’ Summer Vacation– this is the 2nd Super Special, which means we get chapters from the perspective of each member of the club (and sometimes other characters who are only minor characters in other books) and also that it’s a bit longer than the main series/mysteries. This one takes place as they become summer camp counsellors, and while it’s not one of my favourites, I still enjoyed it. There’s always lots going on as each club member has a different storyline, and so much is packed in. An easy and enjoyable read, just like all the other Babysitters Club books!

Comet and the Champion’s Cup– this isn’t a typical summer camp, but it fits the definition and I love it so I couldn’t resist including it. It’s the 5th in the Pony Club Secrets series and follows Issie and her best friends Stella and Kate as they go to stay at Issie’s aunt’s farm to help run her new riding school. They also compete in a contest, and Issie bonds withthe titular Comet, a cheeky skwebald who instantly became my favourite horse of the series (joint with Angel anyway) when I read this. It also features some lovely romantic moments between Issie and Aidan, and the riding school is really fun.

The Names They Gave Us– first of all, this book has one of THE most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen and I bought it without even reading the description, so learning it featured a summer camp was a nice surprise. It’s about Lucy, who’s sent to be a counsellor at a summer camp for troubled children and teens, mainly due to not wanting to disappoint her mum, who’s just been diagnosed with cancer for a 2nd time. I loved the friendships she forms there, the supporting cast, how positive and lovely the camp was and how much it helped everyone attending, and of course the romance between
Lucy and Jones.


If you’d like to see more of my summery posts, you can read the Summer Book Tag here!


What are your favourite books set in summer camps? Do you agree you’d hate to go to one, or would you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy x

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The A-Z Bookish Survey

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m going to be doing the A-Z Bookish Survey which I was tagged for by Kelly’s Ramblings. Onto the questions!


Author you’ve read the most books from: either Enid Blyton or Ann M Martin, I’d guess.

Best Sequel Ever: I think I’ll have to go for Arsenic for Tea, which is probably my absolute favourite of all the Murder Most Unladylike books, and more than topped Murder Most Unladylike (which I totally adored too)

Currently Reading: At time of writing, Skylarks by Karen Gregory.

Drink of Choice While Reading: I only really drink flavoured water, water or milk, so one of those.

E-reader or Physical Book?: Physical.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Nick from Geek Girl is my ultimate book boyfriend.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: I wasn’t a huge fan of All of the Above when I read it, so I’m so glad I still gave Margot and Me a go as I loved it.

Hidden Gem Book: for me, the Children of Castle Rock, because although I’ve enjoyed books from the author in the past, I absolutely didn’t expect to be so blown away by it.

Important Moment in your Reading Life: when I discovered the Adventure Island series and the Laura Marlin Mysteries.

Just Finished: the Children of Castle Rock was my last completed book.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: I don’t really like dystopia, sci-fi or horror, and I’m fussy with YA in general, but particularly fantasy, where I’m willing to give almost any MG, even in the above genres, a go.

Longest Book You’ve Read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the longest I can remember.

Major book hangover because of: I always feel quite bereft every time I finish the Geek Girl series.

Number of Bookcases You Own: None at all! I use storage boxes for my books.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen is probably the standalone I’ve reread the most.

Preferred Place To Read: I prefer reading anywhere at home, but take books almost everywhere. The only place I don’t usually pick up a book is on public transport, I find it often triggers my nausea/makes it worse if it’s already present, as does reading in the car (though only occasionally, which is why I still do that sometimes)

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: I can’t remember a specific quote, but the Japan pavement scene from Model Misfit gives me all the Freckles/Lion boy shipper feels. I love a lot of quotable moments in Geek Girl actually.

Reading Regret: spending so many years ashamed of DNFing and never doing it. Life’s too short for books I’m not enjoying; I read for escapism, so if a book is making me miserable I just get shot these days.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series): the Laura Marlin Mysteries and White Giraffe series, both by Lauren St John and both with only the 5th unread (mainly because they were released years after the others in both cases…)

Three of your All-Time Favourite Books: Boy in in the Tower, Love, Lies and Lemon Pies and Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: I’m probably most excited for the Storm Keeper’s Island at the moment, but I have tons of books I’m anticipating.

Worst Bookish Habit: Maxing out my library card all the time 😂🙈

Your latest book purchase: Eliza and her Monsters, which I’ve only ever seem get 5 star reviews so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): I can’t recall the last, but the one I’ve felt like this most with was How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss.


I tag whoever wants to do this, as I know loads of people I’d usually tag have done it already!

I’d love to hear some of your answers to these in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl, especially if we’ve got any in common!

Amy xxx

Why I Love Geek Girl

Hello everybody!

Today’s post is a tiny bit different to usual (more in format than anything else), so onto the post! I hope you enjoy it 💜

Of all the books that I count as favourites, the Geek Girl series is one of the very closest to my heart. There are so, so many reasons why I love this series and I decided, since it’s now almost a year since the final book came out that I wanted to write about it.
It fits my taste perfectly.

Harriet’s voice is incredibly unique, and her dry sense of humour throughout never, ever fails to make me laugh at least once a chapter. We’re very different in a lot of ways, though I see similarities too. I don’t rattle off facts or love maths and Science, but I adore history, and books, and I’m the first to admit I’m not all that into fashion. There is a passage in the first book about that very topic that speaks hugely to me, and I’m often heard saying ‘they’re just clothes!’

That’s something Geek Girl has given me. There are whole sections of this book I can rhyme off by heart; Harriet’s vocabulary has seeped into mine. Ostensibly, which features in one of the most uncomfortable bullying scenes throughout all 6 books is one of my go to phrases in an essay, and it’s one of my favourite words ever. I also try and learn some of the glorious facts sprinkled throughout that always fit just right with the narrative, which never feel jarring as they could be in other hands.

The rest of the cast are just as special. Eccentric agent Wilbur; so bizarre I can’t help but giggle when he’s on the page. Her parents; clever and caring, and undoubtedly my favourite book parents of all time. Toby; initially an irritation, but someone I came to care about by the end of Forever Geek. Best friend Nat; ferociously protective of Harriet, hilarious, a true ‘girl bomb’. Scary fashion designer Yuka Ito, whose terrifying manner provokes Harriet into some of the best moments of the series for me. And Nick. Lion Boy. A character I’m unashamedly in love with. He’s funny, charming, gorgeous and I can picture him so vividly throughout. He’s perfect for Harriet, to me, and she’s perfect for him.

Watching them grow over the course of the series is a pleasure, and letting them go in Forever Geek was difficult (I spent the entire sitting in which I read it in tears, even as I inevitably laughed). I don’t think I’ll ever stop rereading them though. At the end of any especially tough week, or in preparation for something I’m dreading, I go to the drawer in which I keep these (the most easily accessible I have), pull them out and start reading. And it feels like going home.

Why do you love Geek Girl? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx

10 Books I Could Reread Forever

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m going to be taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s theme is basically perfect for me as I absolutely love rereading and the fact that I barely do any more since starting blogging is so annoying. Onto the books!

Chocolate Box Girls series by Cathy Cassidy– it seems only fitting to kick this post off with this series, which I’m pretty sure first released in 2010, aka when I wasn’t even double digits in terms of age. If they can withstand that length of time, I’m fairly sure I’ll be rereading them forever. They’re lovely teen contemporaries about a blended family creating a chocolate business, and the lives of the 5 daughters in particular.

Geek Girl series by Holly Smale- these books are like a cosy comfort blanket for me. They’re my go to in the middle of any especially tough time, and this world and these characters just never ever fail to lift my mood, though I always find it super tough to leave again as I get near the end.

Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens- these are, like what I know of Agatha Christie’s books (which I should probably read, as I somehow never have), the perfect mix of cosy and crime. They’re intricately plotted, have a nostalgic feel that’s like a more murderous Malory Towers vibe, and a really phenomenal friendship between two incredible female characters. They’re also very funny (or, I think so anyway), and they’re continuing to be of top notch quality 6 books in. It’s also super cool to pick up on foreshadowing when I reread them, as I am unobservant and never notice on my first reading.

The 39 Clues series by various authors- this series is criminally underrated and I cannot fathom why. They’re like an addictive TV series, and about the feuding superpower Cahill family as they undertake an unusual battle for an even more unusual inheritance. Discovering these books again is amazing, and I’d love to fit in a reread of this in 2018.

Adventure Island series by Helen Moss– another series I’d love to reread this year, time permitting, is this. It was my saviour at a time when I couldn’t find any books I loved and wasn’t sure reading was for me. Castle Key is a fantastic setting, I adore the characters, and as a lover of MG mysteries I’m yet to stumble upon a series with such consistently complex mysteries. Each of the 14 are of such a high standard, and I very much recommend them.

The Babysitters Club by Ann M Martin– it would take years to reread this series (in truth, I don’t think I’ve read them all anyway), but they’re perfect low concentration reads for when I’m especially I’ll. I found solace in a few mysteries when I had an especially bad chest infection last spring, for example. I’d like to rediscover some super specials this year.

Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison- I haven’t reread this in a while I’ve realised, but most of the time when I do I want to turn straight back to the start when I finish (and yes, I have done this before, multiple times). I adore the characters, the story is a lot of fun and it’s the laugh out loud type of funny.

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen- after raving about it on this blog an awful lot, my reread of this at New Year was daunting to say the least. But it more than lived up to my stratospheric recollection, and I weeped my way into 2018, unable to leave Ade’s world again before I finished.

Lockwood and Co series by Jonathan Stroud- I got into this series when there were only 3 of 5 books, and I must have read them at least 3 or 4 times in three months. I’ve not done a full reread yet, but I’d very much like to soon.

Pony Club Secrets by Stacy Gregg- this is the only longer series I’ve vowed I MUST reread this year, and I’m ridiculously excited, but also nervous, to reread them. I hope they’ll retain this status after I do, though I have a feeling they’re timeless in the same vein as the Chocolate Box Girls.

Thank you so much for reading! What books could you reread forever? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Author Interview: Lari Don

Hello everybody! 

Today, I’m really excited to have an author interview with Lari Don, whose books I absolutely loved when I read them last year. Onto the interview!

Hi Lari! Thank you so much for being here!

1. Can you please describe your writing in 5 words?

Magic, monsters, adventure, ambushes, danger…

2. What is your writing routine like? Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I wish I had a regular writing routine, involving nice quiet days typing in my study and going for long walks to think through plot problems. In fact, I do most of my writing on trains and in a shed. I spend a lot of time talking to young readers and writers in schools and libraries, so if I want to keep on top of my deadlines, I have to write while travelling. Then when I am at home, my family are usually there too, being noisy and distracting, so I have to escape to the garden shed to get peace to think and imagine. And the shed isn’t a fancy shed, it’s an old leaky tool shed, with a desk, a box of blankets, and lots of spiders. Therefore, my unusual writing habit is getting someone brave to check the shed for spiders lurking in the corners or above my head before I start to write. 

3. All of your middle grades are mainly fantasies. Was there any reason you chose to write in that genre? Do you have any favourite fantasy books?

Of my 9 novels so far, 8 are fantasy adventures! I write about magic and quests and monsters because that’s what I’ve always loved reading. Also, most of my inspiration comes from reading, researching and telling old myths, legends and folklore. So I write fantasy because I love fantasy, and because most of my ‘what if’ ideas lead to me that way. My favourite fantasy books are the ones I read when I was young, by Diana Wynne Jones (the Chrestomanci books, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Power of Three) but I’ve read some brilliant ones recently too, including the Five Kingdoms series by Vivian French and the Bartimaeus books by Jonathan Stroud.

4. Your books are all set in Scotland, which I loved (It was so nice to understand all the school references for a change!). Did you always plan for that, or did it just seem natural to set the books there when you started? Is there any part of Scotland that you’d like to set a book in that you haven’t yet?

I don’t really plan anything! I just write the stories that won’t leave me alone! My stories generally find themselves happening in Scotland because I know Scotland better than anywhere else in the world, and because the Scottish landscape is fantastic for quests and adventures. Also, location research is easier if it’s a coastline or mountain or castle that I already know or that I can visit in a weekend. However, not all my characters are Scottish (Theo in Spellchasers is from Egypt, for example) and the monsters and magic are inspired by myths and legend from all over the world. Also, I have written a novel (Mind Blind) set mostly in London, so I hope my imagination doesn’t stop at the border! Spellchasers is set in Speyside, where I was brought up, and the Fabled Beasts quested in parts of Scotland that I visit for holidays or to see family: the Borders, the West Highlands, Orkney, Skye, Sutherland… If I want to write about a ‘new’ bit of Scotland, I could consider Dumfries and Galloway, Fife, Glasgow, and various other islands. But I’ll have to see what the next story wants and needs. (I think it might need a port, so perhaps I’ll set it in Leith?) Also, I’m delighted that you enjoy reading books set in Scotland and recognising the references.  When I was young, I only read one (ONE!) adventure novel for kids set in Scotland.  Everything else was English or American. Nowadays, there’s so much more choice for young readers, so much more opportunity to read about their own landscape and culture and history. I know that’s the case in Scotland, I hope it’s the case everywhere else as well! 

5. One of the main elements of Spellchasers is shapeshifting, as that is the thing the main character Molly has been cursed with. What 3 animals would you most like to shapeshift into, and why?

A hare – because I spent so much time researching hares, that I’d love to know whether what I imagined and described every time Molly ran as a hare is really how it feels. Also, I’d love to run that fast!

A hawk  – because who doesn’t want to fly? And I’d love to hover above the landscape, watching all the stories happening below me.

 A cat – after all that sprinting and running, I’d probably want to turn into a pet cat, so I could curl up beside a fire and have a snooze!  

(Then, of course, I’d want to become human again, because I don’t fancy eating grass or rodents for my tea!) 

6. I`m going to be a bit mean now. Who is your favourite Spellchaser, and Fabled Beast? Mine are Beth/Atacama and Sapphire, if you’re interested.

I should struggle to answer this, because I should love all my characters equally, but if I’m honest I already know my favourites. Yann the centaur in Fabled Beasts and Innes the kelpie in Spellchasers.  (And my favourite baddies are the Faery Queen in Wolf Notes and Nan in The Shapeshifter’s Guide to Running Away.  There are probably common themes in both of those pairs of favourites, which possibly reveal far too much about me…)   

7. This one should be a bit easier! What’s your favourite thing about being an author?

That’s not easier, because I love so many things about being an author! I love the moment an idea arrives, the ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder’, and especially when several smaller ideas crash together and sparks fly and I can feel I have a new novel coming to life.  But I also love the process of discovering the story, the long journey to find the answers to the initial questions. And I am excited any time a character does something unexpected, especially those wonderful and rare moments when a character takes control of the story and runs off with it (that happened in Rocking Horse War, my only standalone fantasy, and it seriously improved the plot!) And I love editing (yes, really. I know that’s unusual, but I love seeing the story get stronger as I slice away the extra words that I needed to find the story but that the readers don’t need to enjoy it.) And I love the moment a new book arrives, all shiny and real. AND I love talking to young readers and inspiring them to come up with stories of their own. Despite the late nights and long train journeys and spider-filled sheds, I love everything about being a writer! 

8. Finally, before the quickfire questions, can you let us in on any secrets about what you`ll be releasing next? *crosses fingers for more fabulous MG*

I hope there will be more ‘fabulous MG’ (thank you!) sometime soon, but the next book is actually a picture book. It’s called The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster, and it’s quite dark and dangerous, but also magical and mysterious, with amazing illustrations by Nataša Ilinčić. And after that – who knows? I needed a creative break after writing the Spellchasers trilogy (a trilogy takes a long time and a lot of complicated story-weaving) so I am having fun with several possible novel ideas right now. But all the ideas I am playing with involve magic, betrayals and danger, so I hope you’ll enjoy the next novel, whatever it is! 

QUICKFIRE

Hogwarts house? – Ravenclaw 

Favourite sweet treat? – Orange or mint chocolate, in the middle of the night, to keep me awake when I’m editing

Favourite season? -winter

Your 3 favourite reads of 2017? – The Empty Grave (Lockwood and Co) by Jonathan Stroud 

Within the Sanctuary of Wings (the Memoirs of Lady Trent) by Marie Brennan

Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris 

(and I got a pile of intriguing books for Christmas which I’m really looking forward to working my way through) 

3 random facts about you- 

• I’m terrified of spiders, but don’t have any problems with wasps, bees, moths, birds, snakes or dragons; 

• I am learning British Sign Language; 

• My current favourite vegetable is cauliflower. 

Thanks for asking such wonderful questions! 

Thank you for answering so wonderfully!

I hope you enjoyed Lari’s answers as much as I did. Do you love Lari’s books? Are they on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Top Ten Tuesday- My 5 Bookish Resolutions for 2018

Hello everybody! Today I’m taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Given the title, this may be slightly confusing, but for today’s list I’ve decided I only wanted to have 5 I actually intend to attempt rather than 10 I’m writing just for the sake of it . Onto my resolutions!


1) Read 100 books
– I know I’ve said I’m not making myself a goal for how many books I want to read, but I’ve decided to have this very loose and unofficial one. I think I’m just going to write down the name of a book each time I finish it, and then count them all at the end of the year


2) Reread more
– I’ve always been a big rereader, but I did it very little after my blog began. At the end of 2017, I did a few rereads and it was such a joy. Three I’m especially determined to achieve (as they’re lengthier) are the My Sister the Vampire series, the Adventure Island series and the Pony Club Secrets books.


3) Feel even less guilt over DNFing
– I’m admittedly pretty good at this one already, so next year I’d like to just wipe the guilt altogether. I hate the feeling of not enjoying something lots of people did, and feel so guilty about not finishing them/what people will think of that decision, but next year I’m going to attempt to stop worrying about it quite so much.


4) Read some Shakespeare
– since we started doing exams, I no longer get the chance to read Shakespeare at school. Before, we read two (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Merchant of Venice, the latter of which I fell in love with) and I thought they were fab. I want to read at least 2 or 3  this year, if I can hunt down good editions.


5) KEEP BLOGGING
– is this bookish? My blog has the word books in the title, so I’m counting it, and I have lots of bookish content evem though I’ve branched out to a few other things too (and intend to do so even more in 2018). No matter what happens over the next year, I’d like to remain as a blogger. I honestly love doing it and I’ve met so many amazing people through it too.


Thank you so much for reading! Do you have any resolutions for 2018? I’d love to hear about them in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!


Amy xxx

Why I Loved Doing Blogmas

Hello everybody!


Today, I’m doing a little bit of reflection on why I enjoyed doing blogmas so much during December. After all the stress was out of the way, I thought it was an incredible experience, and one I personally loved (though I totally respect anyone who doesn’t enjoy it; every blogger is amazing regardless 💜). Unless anything drastically changes over the next year (which is entirely possible), I’m very much hoping to take part again in 2018. Onto the reasons why I decided this!

 Increased Engagement– I’d be a liar if I didn’t own up to liking a boost in my stats, but I mean other things by this too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading other bloggers’ posts and trying to comment on and engage with them.


Creativity
– I got to come up with ideas, both for myself and working with guests to decide on their posts. It was brilliant fun, and I love how differently they’ve all turned out, even when working from similar titles. It was a big challenge, especially considering that I usually post 13 times a month on average, but I’m genuinely thrilled with every idea that made the cut (and some which didn’t, that I’ve added to thoughts for 2018 blogmas)


Getting to Organise Something-
I’m nowhere near near as organised as some people seem to think I am, but I do really quite enjoy it. Blogmas unleashed my inner organiser (blogging does in general, if I’m honest). Spider diagrams of brainstorming sessions and schedules have been in my notebook since July. This was admittedly extreme, but I’m so proud I pulled it off. In the interest of full disclosure, I already have a loose schedule in mind for blogmas 2018, should I take part…


Doing Something a Bit Different
– When my blog first began, I posted exclusively about books. Then I introduced the odd Disney post, and then a lifestyle tag and then films. I really enjoy writing them for a change of pace, and I loved doing festive versions during Blogmas! In the New Year I’m hoping to start talking a little bit about music too, which I’m super excited about. I hope you like these different posts too!


Guest Posts-
As well as hosting some amazing guest posts here, I also contributed posts to several blogs I love. It was so much fun, and I really couldn’t pick a favourite of the ones I got to write!


Thank you so much for reading! Why did you love doing blogmas, if you did it?


Amy xxx