The Real Neat Blog Award

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m going to be completing the Real Neat Blog Award tag, which I was tagged for by Bex. Onto the post!


The Rules:

Display the award logo on your blog

Thank the folks who nominated you and provide links to their blogs

Answer the 7 questions asked by your nominator(s)

Nominate any number of other bloggers to share the award and give them some linky love

Notify the nominated folk

Ask the nominees 7 questions of your own


1. Which 2018 release are you most looking forward to?

I have lots! I’m excited the 2nd James Nicol is finally coming next month, and I can’t wait for Jess Butterworth’s new book.

2. Do you prefer watching Booktube or reading blogs?

I really like both, but think blogs have the edge for me. They’re quicker to read so I comment/engage more, and I definetely enjoy a lot more blogs whereas I’m much more more fussy wuth booktube. There are only 5 people I regularly watch, I think.

3. What is the best debut you have read this year?

Jess Butterworth’s Running on the Roof of the World in 2017, when I was tagged for this. It was an all enveloping middle grade adventure, and I adored it.

4. Be honest – how many unread books do you own at the moment?

Over 100, less than 150 at last count.

5. What is your favourite non-fiction novel?

I don’t actually read non fiction. 🙈

6. If you were to write a book, what would it be about?

I’d write a mystery, most likely for middle grade. Write what you know and all that jazz! (to clarify, I am not the real life Nancy Drew. I’ve just read so many I’m quite confident I could come up with one)

7. Name one thing you have done in 2017 that you’re really proud of.

I started my blog, and I’m really proud of what I achieved with it. I also passed my exams and I was very happy with my results.

I am not very good at coming up with questions, so not all of these are bookish! No one I tag is obligated to answer them. I tag Jo, Hannah and Rebecca, as I just recently did a tag where I tagged some others I know so don’t want to bombard them with another one!

1. If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and why?

2. Do you use bookmarks? Do you have a favourite type/one?

3. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

4. Who is your favourite book character of all time? (Top 3 if you can’t choose)

5. Favourite book to film adaptation?

6. Who are your favourite singers?

7. If you were a teacher at Hogwarts, which subject would you teach?

Thank you so much for reading! I’d love to hear your answers to these questions below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

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January YA Reviews

Hello everybody!

Welcome to my young adult portion of reviews for the month of January. If you want to read the MG post, you can find it here. Onto the books!


Continue reading “January YA Reviews”

The Valentine’s Day Book Tag

Hello everybody!

Since it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to do the Valentine’s Day Book Tag, which was created by CC’s Books. Onto the post!

1.) Stand Alone Book You Love

I won’t mention my favourite MG standalone ever as I want to use it for another question! Other MG I love Are Running on and Being Miss Nobody, and a YA standalone I thought was especially impressive is the Art of Being Normal. I love others too, such as Lobsters or Unboxed or Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

2.) Dystopian Book You Love

I’m not really a fan of this genre if I’m honest, and I tend to steer clear of it nowadays. That said, Boy in the Tower, my favourite MG standalone ever, does have some dystopian elements. I don’t really class it as that as it’s so hopeful and optimistic and Ade is a darling, but it answers this.

3.) A Book That You Love But No One Else Talks About

Um, Boy in the Tower is my go to for this, and Polly Ho Yen’s other book Fly Me Home also receives nowhere near the amount of love it deserves. I also love the 39 Clues series, and Adventure Island, which are now a bit older and also aren’t talked about often! I’ve actually been considering starting a series of posts about underrated books; would you read that?

4.) Favorite Book Couple

I wrote a full post about my top 5 a few weeks ago, but my ultimate favourite is of course Harriet and Nick from Geek Girl.

5.) Book That Other People Love But You Haven’t Read Yet

I think I have to go for the Northern Lights trilogy for this one, mainly for the sheer AMOUNT of people who adore them. I feel so scared to dive into them 🙈

6.) A Book With Red on the Cover

The first that springs to mind is Cherry Crush by Cathy Cassidy, which even has a shade of red in the title! It’s the first in the Chocolate Box Girls series and it’s narrated by Cherry as she moves in with the Tanberry family and her life totally changes.

7.) A Book With Pink on the Cover

I feel as though there are hardly any pink covers now. I’ll say Being Miss Nobody, and another I recently read was the Lights Under the Lake.

8.) You were given a box of chocolate what fictional boyfriend/ or girlfriend would given them to you.

Nick from Geek Girl or Sirius Black.

9.) You are Single on Valentines Day. What Book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What Movie would you watch?

I have no idea what I’ll be reading (though it coincides with my half term break so I should hopefully swallow a book in the day) or watching (again, I would like to watch at least one film as I’m off! Maybe Pretty in Pink for cosy romance vibes?)

10.) You are in the Book Store. All of a Sudden you get shot with an arrow by Cupid. What New Release will you love?

A book released just before this is due to go up (I am writing this in the past!) that I am 99.99% sure I will love is A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens. I am a HUGE Wells and Wong fan and it has been too long since Mistletoe and Murder 😭

Thank you so much for reading! I won’t tag anyone as this is somewhat seasonal, but if you feel like having a go please send me a link as I’d love to read it! Let me know what you think of my answers down below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl, and if the underrated books I love series of posts would be of interest.

Amy xxx

Guest Post: The Animal Crossing Book Tag by @aimee_louise_l

Hello everybody!

Today, I have a guest post from my lovely friend Aimee Louise, which is a book tag we created together. I’m answering the questions over on her blog today, if you want to see my answers! 

 Tom Nook – a book that fleeced you – Best twist/cliffhanger

The Great Chocoplot. HOW CAN WE HAVE A WORLD WITH NO CHOCOLATE? Seriously, if this isn’t a shock horror twist then I don’t know how we can be friends.

Harriet – a book that misses the mark

For me, this is One Of Us Is Lying. As much as I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it. I’d guessed THAT twist almost instantly and I guess I was expecting more from it. The hype surrounding it was massive, and I’m probably going to get a lot of grief for my opinion. Sorry guys, I just didn’t love it. 

Celeste – an underrated character

There are SO MANY characters who are underrated and I’m finding it difficult to choose just one. For me, it is going to have to be Isabelle Richardson from Little Fires Everywhere. She has some wonderfully hidden qualities that could really blossom into something great with the right nuturing and I hate the fact that her own family don’t give her enough credit or allow her to be herself. 

Mabel – a book that’s bright and sunny
A joyful, uplifting read? I’m not entirely sure I know what those are. I have a tendency of going down the more dark and twisted bookish path so light-hearted, feel good reads aren’t really my thing. However, Sealed With A Kiss by Rachael Lucas fits this criteria perfectly AND it is such a gorgeous book. This book made me want to broaden my bookish horizons and it not only got me out of a MASSIVE reading slump but it also arrived at a time when I really needed something heart-warming and comforting. Set in Scotland, this book is perfect escapism.

Timmy and Tommy – a book featuring twins
Double Act. One of my absolute favourite childhood books which I read when I was about 6 or 7 years old. Ruby and Garnet are two very different twins and I loved that the fact they were a mirror image of each other did not reflect their personalities. 

KK Slider – a book featuring music

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Oh how I LOVE this book. If you’ve not read this yet, then where have you been hiding because it is phenomenal. The music that is included within this book is brilliant. Seriously, perfect mixtape material.

Dr Shrunk – a book featuring an eccentric character

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. I don’t think I need to say anymore than that really.

Crazy Red – a book with thieves

The Book Thief. Another one of my all time favourite books which is about a girl called Liesel who steals books and befriends a Jewish man. It is SO much more than that really. But, books are important for minds and friendships. Just saying.

Pocket camp – A book set in a camp

Ok, so I may be cheating slightly with this one by recommending The Dream Snatcher trilogy. BUT becoming a part of Moll’s tribe back in 2015 when she stormed her way onto the scene with a Wildcat in tow, I could NOT miss this out. Seriously, saying goodbye to Moll and her tribe was heartbreaking. I’m still not over it.

Gulliver – a book that takes you on an adventure

The Wolf Wilder takes you on a wolf-riding adventure. I mean seriously, do I need to sell this to you anymore? 

Kicks – a book that’s like a new pair of shoes – a book you really clicked with

I have clicked with SO MANY books. Seriously, some of the characters who I’ve journeyed with in their various worlds have really spoken to me and found a way into my heart. However, Under Rose Tainted Skies is the book which I resonated deeply with especially when trying to get a better understanding of my own Mental Health.

Porter – a book which transports you to a new world – a book with brilliant world building

Sky Song, without a doubt is a book which transports you to a whole new world. I was so engrossed in the world of Erkenwald, that reality just totally slipped away and left me to embark in some extreme wintry conditions in order to defeat the Ice Queen. 
I tag Rebecca @_rebeccastobart, Chelley @chelleytoy and Hannah @cupofwonderland


Aimee Louise

The Guilty Reader Book Tag 

Hello everybody! Today, I’m doing the Guilty Reader Book Tag, which I was tagged for by Lucy-May. Onto the post! 


 1. Have you ever re-gifted a book that you’ve been gifted?

No, but if I get a gift and don’t enjoy the book when I read it, I do what I tend to do and take it a charity shop/second hand book shop.


2. Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?

Kind of. I skipped a couple of chapters of To Kill a Mockingbird last (lovely English teacher, if by some odd chance you’re reading this, I am sorry. I read most of them, promise). I really liked the story, but Scout’ s ‘voice’ could not have irked me any more.


3. Have you ever borrowed a book & not returned it?

I’ve taken my time to return things, but no, I have never just not returned something. I think this is partly because to this day I regret loaning my copy of Ways to Live Forever to a human who a) did not read it that I am aware of, and b) did not give me it back.


4
. Have you ever read a series out of order?

I have, but it makes me very uncomfortable and I hate doing it. I did it with one of my favourite series , Pony Club Secrets (I read book 4 first, and was hooked but very confused, then went back to the start and devoured them, and each new book as it came out)


5. Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

Not to my recollection, and certainly never intentionally if I have.


6. Have you ever doggy eared a book?

No, but some second hand copies I own do have dog eared pages. I really don’t like the feel of them. I do crack spines though (not intentionally, just by the way I hold books I presume)


7. Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?

Not that I can remember.


8. . Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

See my answer to question 2! And I’ve also skipped to the end of books I’m not enjoying.


9. Have you ever badmouthed a book you actually liked?

Again, not that I can remember. If I like a book, I like to shout about it far and wide.


Thank you for reading! Are you guilty of any of these? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
I’m tagging anyone who wants to do this 💜


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