Top Ten Tuesday- 5 Books I Barely Remember 

Hello everbody!


Today I’m taking part in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by 
That Artsy Reader Girl. Like last week, I couldn’t come up with 10, so have decided to go for 5 Books I struggle to remember. This is in no way a reflection of the quality of the books- just that I read them YEARS ago. Onto the books!

 

Trouble by Non Pratt
– I remember a few things about this book (two parts of the plot), the names of the two lead characters and one side one, and that’s about it. In my defense, I think I was a bit young to fully grasp it at 12/13 and I think I’d probably remember much more if I read it agiam (now just to track down a copy…)


Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
– I loved this book. I thought the narrative style was so, so clever and I’ve never read anything like it. But I’m so fuzzy with the events of this book. I remember the set up, and the fact the main character’s called Zoe. I’d really like to reread it to see how I feel about it now!

Where Monsters Lie by Polly Ho-Yen
– if you know my love for Boy in the Tower/Fly Me Home, you’ll be surprised by this. But I really did not like this,  and I was so upset I think I’ve just blocked it from my memory. I know it’s about slugs, I recall the name of the main character and the fsct I detested it, other than that, not a squeak.


Wonder by R.J Palacio
– I enjoyed this, even though it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. I genuinely don’t remember a single event in this now.


The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton
– I think these are my least favourite Blyton books. They’re massively overrated, if you ask me (JUSTICE FOR THE FIVE FIND OUTERS, THEY ARE THE BEST AND NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE!) And I only really remember the name of the dog, and something about secret passwords to enter their clubhouse?


Thank you so much for reading! Are you a little foggy on the events of some books? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

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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

Guest Post: Books I’m Hoping to Find Under my Tree by Zoe (nosaferplace)

Hello everybody! 

Today, I’m thrilled to welcome my lovely friend Zoe from the exceptional No Safer Place to chat about the books she’s hoping to get for Christmas, similar to my Top Ten Tuesday post the other day. 

Over to Zoe now, and see you tomorrow,

Amy xxx

I rarely ask for anything at Christmas. Christmas for me is about giving and spending time with my family. But if I do ever drop a hint at what I’d like for Christmas, you can bet it’s going to be a book. There’s just something so magical about opening a brand new book, smelling the pages and wondering which world you’re going to get lost in next. So what books am I hoping for under my tree this year? Read on, to find out.

Origin – Dan Brown

I absolutely adore Dan Brown and the Robert Langdon series. I read The Da Vinci Code when I was quite young, but I was just completely mesmerised by this complex book, and the twists and turns that lurked on every page turn. I have gone into bookshops several times since the book’s release, just to hold it and let me tell you – the excitement is strong.

The Silver Mask – Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

This is the 4th book in the Magisterium series. Cassie is obviously one of my favourite authors and everything she writes is just gold dust to me. The series gives off very strong Harry Potter vibes, but is aimed at a slightly younger audience. I read the first 3 on their release dates, so I’m slightly gutted not to have this yet – but I know it’ll be worth the wait.

Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

I don’t think this book needs any introduction and I’d imagine if you’re a bookworm that hasn’t read this book yet, like me, this will be on your Christmas book list too. I don’t really have any idea what the book is about, but I know John Green has written it, and that alone is reason enough to give this book a go.

 

Harry Potter: A History of Magic – British Library

Harry Potter has been in my life for as long as I can remember. I was never really interested in the illustrated editions of the books but I think there’s something really magical about this one. The illustrations look incredible and of course, I’m always open to learning more about the series that dominated my childhood.

A Christmas Wedding – Paige Toon

Now, would this list really be complete without a Christmas book? Paige Toon is one of my favourite authors and this short story, with a cup of hot chocolate, under a blanket, really sounds like the perfect way to get me into the festive spirit.

What books are you hoping to find under your tree this Christmas? Do we share any? Tweet me your answers at @zcollins1994!

Check out my book recommendations and blogmas posts here: nosaferplace.co.uk 

My 5 Favourite Book Animals

Hello everybody, and welcome to day 16 of blogmas!


Today, since animals are my favourite part of of a lot of traditional Christmas stories and my dogs are some of my favourite company on the day itself (😉), I thought it would be fun to


*Note- there is a reason why there are no dogs/cats on this list, to be revealed at some point in 2018… 😉

 

Flit the bat from Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire
– Flit was a cynical, hilarious sidekick for the little vampire and I adored him. He really made me laugh and he is absolutely adorable in Kathryn Durst’s fabulous illustrations throughout.


Eve and Bones the yaks from Running on the Roof of the World
– these were both such lovely companions for main characters Tash and Sam, and there were several scenes involving them that made me sob. I’m so excited to meet the leopard in her 2nd book.


Bob the fish from Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink
– this is the most hilarious fish you will EVER read about. His conversations with Alex’s friend Jess were more often than not a snort worthy level of funny, and I’m very much hoping he’ll pop up come the 2nd book in the series.


Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web
– Wilbur is the sweetest animal I can ever remember reading in a book, and I adore him with all my heart. He’s so innocent about his fate (which I’m welling up just THINKING about) and is so friendly and caring towards his friends. He really is Some Pig, that one, and even though it may break me I need to reread this soon.


Malkin the fox from the Cogheart Adventures-
Malkin is a mechanical fox, and he’s sardonic and witty and I love. He’s my favourite part of these books hands down and I can’t wait to see more of him in the 3rd book (which now isn’t releasing till October 2018, *sobs*)


Who are your favourite book animals? Do you love any on my list? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 😘


Amy xxx

Guest Post: Christmas With Year 3 by Christina of Chrikaru

Hello everybody! 

Today, I have a lovely guest post from my fabulous friend Christina, who blogs about books and modern languages (aka two of my favourite things in the world) all about books she reads with her class at Christmas. 

Over to Christina and her lovely post now!

Amy xxx 


In my classroom we read everyday, several times day. Any time we have a spare minute we read. Read a story, poem or article together as a class, with a friend or alone, we’re always reading. I like to share my favourite stories with the children in my class and consider one of the most important parts of my job is that children leave my class having identified books as sources of joy, inspiration, comfort and information. Books as ‘ uniquely portable magic’ in the words of Stephen King.

I like to match books with what we’re learning about or link them to things that are happening in the real world. Books have started so many valuable, deep conversations with my class and I have seen the impact with children queuing to borrow their own copy, reading more on that subject or in the reports I hear from parents about their once reluctant reader who is now lost inside a book at every opportunity.

The lead-up to Christmas in school is exciting, yet tiring with lots of things going on. To give you an example, in the month leading up to Christmas we have parent-teacher conferences, Arts Week (where each class spends a whole week creating art, culminating in an installation in and around school), Open House  (where children perform, then show their parents around school), flu sprays, Christmas pudding cooking, etc etc. I could keep going!

In amongst all these activities and excitement, it is important to have the sanctuary of reading as that quiet, calm place we all enjoy spending time in, even when the sculpture we’ve spent two hours building has collapsed in a crumpled mess.

So, what do we read?

Here are a few suggestions for any KS1 or KS2 class (ages 4 – 11).

Little Robin Red Vest by Jan Fearnle -Little Robin has given all his nice warm vests to seven chilly friends in need. On Christmas Eve, with no vest left for himself, he huddles on an icy roof… until someone very special comes to the rescue.

I first came across this when teaching Year 1 and it has been a firm favourite with every class I have shared it with. A really cute story about the importance of kindness and sharing!

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan and Janet Albert- The Jolly Postman brings a batch of wonderful letters for Christmas, including notes from the Big Bad Wolf and all the King’s men.

If you loved the original Jolly Postman book, you will also enjoy this holiday edition where the postman delivers letters to various fairytale characters.

The Polar Express by Chris van Allsburg- A young boy is awakened from his Christmas Eve rest by a train that magically appears just outside his home. 

And so, a magical adventure begins! Truly a classic for Christmas!

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs- Wordless picture book with beautiful soft illustrations – lovely to share with children as you can discuss what is happening on each page.

Yet another classic, The Snowman had charmed and enthralled every child to whom I have introduced him to!

The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child and Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer

Not traditionally Christmas stories, but the storytelling at home fits well with cuddling up with your family during colder weather and The Gruffalo’s Child is set in winter. Stick Man is also a fun read at this time of year, especially as Santa Claus makes an appearance!

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs

A cute look at what Santa does before and after Christmas – quirky humour and graphic-novel style illustrations make this a winner!

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

This needs no introduction – remember reading this on Christmas Eve with my parents when I was younger and I’m sure that many other families also have this tradition.

Norman, the slug who saved Christmas by Sue Hendra

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27686688-norman-the-slug-who-saved-christmas

This was recommended to me by a friend who is also a primary teacher – I was a bit sceptical at first but the kids loved it! When a big sack of presents lands by Norman the slug, at first he thinks he must have been a very good slug that year. Then he spots the name labels and realises that the presents must have fallen off Santa’s sleigh…

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

Not strictly a Christmas book, but a beautiful story to share with children at any time of the year!

The Stolen Sun by Amanda Hall

A Native Alaskan story about the changing of the seasons – lovely to share with children who may not be familiar with the original folklore.

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson– This is a classic for a reason and one of my childhood favourites – like most popular fairy tales there have been several different re-imaginings of it, but I always enjoyed Gerda striking of into the snow to save her friend

The Twelve Days of Christmas- A fun way to count down the days with your children – it is just an illustration of the song, but it is fun to read as you sing and talk about what each gift might represent or what they might orefer instead!

The Nutcracker- Another Christmas classic, my family watches the ballet together every year. Did anyone else ever imagine themselves as Clara, dancing with the Sugar Plum fairy?

Walk with a wolf, The Emperor’s Egg and Ice Bear- Brilliant faction (fact but illustrated like fiction) books which have fascinated every class I have ever read them to!

How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr Seuss- This one probably needs no introduction – the inimitable Dr Seuss takes on Christmas through the eyes of the Grinch who hates everything about it!

Okay, am going to stop here although the more I think about it, the more wonderful books I come up with!

Have you read any of the books above? 

Will you add some to your seasonal reading list?

Let me know!

Christina


5 Books Which Feature Chocolate

Hello everybody!


As with my post about brilliant bookish food the other day,  today I’m going to be talking about one food in particular (one of my favourites), chocolate and some books it features in prominently.


Onto the books! Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl- this is the story of Charlie Bucket as he wins the opportunity  the worldbuilding of this book is exceptional, and I for one would love to explore the Chocolate Factory and sample all the delights it has to offer. It’s probably in my top 3 of Rolad Dahl books after Matilda and the Witches, though it’s been quite a few years since I read it.


The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders
– this is the story of siblings Lily and Oz as they discover their ancestors were magical chocolate makers and set off on an adventure to defeat villains who want to get their hands on old stock. This is a magical realism triumph with humour, heart, friendship and plenty of chocolate. And adorable animals in hilarious cat Demerara and rat Spike (I have a special fondness for rats, even though I didn’t actually include any on my list of favourite animals later in blogmas 🙈. The rat in the Last Wild trilogy is really sweet too!)


The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan
– this is a more recent read, about Jelly as she investigates the supposed “chocopocalypse” that is hitting the world in just a few days, and discovering it may not be all that natural a disaster… It’s zany, silly and well worth a read if you enjoy slightly younger MG. I’m very glad there isn’t a real chocopocalypse coming though!


The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
– this is the tale of dragon Aventurine as she is turned into a human by a food mage and develops an affection for chocolate and her subsequent journey of finding a job and keeping it. I loved this an awful lot, and I’m very excited for the companion novel coming out next year, which I hope is just as chocolate focused!


The Chocolate Box Girls by Cathy Cassidy
– this series is mainly about the Tanberry-Costello siblings and their personal lives/problems, but it also features their parents chocolate business the Chocolate Box. I genuinely can’t describe to you how much I desperately wish this business was real, because I would buy so many of their flavours I’d go bankrupt (I’d especially enjoy Coco Caramel I think). Maybe it’s just as well it isn’t real after all…


What are your favourite books which feature chocolate? Do you agree with any of my choices? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!


Amy xxx

Guest Post: Louise of Book Murmuration’s Favourite Winter Fairytales

Hello everybody!

Welcome to day 9 of blogmas! Today, I have my friend Louise here to talk about her favourite winter fairytales!

Enjoy! 


Peter Pan- Peter Pan has been associated with Christmas since it hit the stage in the Christmas season of 1904. Otherwise it has nothing to do with winter, or Christmas. I think this shows how any story can become a favourite Christmas tale. Lots of us feel like big children at Christmas, and Christmas is never so magical as in those early childhood years, so I think the theme of the boy who doesn’t want to grow up resonates with children and adults at this time of year.

The Match Girl- Why does a story that ends with the death of a child have associations with Christmas? Seasonal reading doesn’t have to be light and fluffy. Dickens was master of that, but The Match Girl predates even A Christmas Carol. These days we’re as likely to be obsessed with presents and wrapping paper, and driving each other up the wall over television watching rights. The Match Girl goes back to a time when a warm fire and the love of a family was a gift, not a … gift in disguise. I think it has the power to get under the frustration caused by modern life, and modern Christmas, and remind us how lucky we are. Everybody begs that final match to provide the miracle. Every. Single. Time. 

The Snow Queen- Modern adaptations focus on the queen in her palace. To me, the beauty of Hans Anderson’s story is how Gerda travels through the seasons, and those seasons are personified by the people she meets. My favourite part is the Autumn bandit camp.

The King Of The Swans- Delphine travels into a summery land to find the strawberries which will save her friend Hilda. Delphine is unable to get home, until she gifts some strawberries to the King of Swans. Hilda is cured, and years later the swan king gifts Delphine a crown. Ever after, children go in search of the same strawberries, but none find them. Delphine’s selflessness is rewarded, while the other children go in search of riches and come back empty-handed. This story stays in my memory because of the contrast – the summery land found in the middle of a snowy forest.

The Snow Maiden – An elderly couple believe they have been blessed with the child of their wishes when a girl made of snow comes to life. She grows within days into a beautiful young woman, but evaporates over a fire when she is invited to run through the springtime wood. 

The child made of snow is the image which stays with me. We all know what will happen when the girl is invited out into the spring. This is a lovely story to tell aloud, as the twists and turns invite questions.  ‘What do you think they found?’ ‘Do you think she’ll return home?’ 

Don’t these all sound brilliant?! I think my favourite winter fairytale is the Snow Queen for sure. What’s yours? 

Amy xxx