Guest Post: 10 Things About Christmas in Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter 

Hello everybody!

Today, I have a guest post from the amazing Tamsin Winter (author of Being Miss Nobody, which I thought was incredible).

Over to Tamsin!

1. It’s in the school Christmas assembly when the idea for writing a blog starts to flicker in Rosalind’s mind. She’s been silent at her new school for a whole term, and she’s beginning to figure out a way to have a voice.

2. Christmas Day takes on a whole new significance when Rosalind accidentally finds out it could be her little brother’s last Christmas. 

3. Their dad is extra embarrassing during the Christmas period. He wears reindeer antlers to the supermarket, for example. Like Rosalind says, “There must be something in my dad’s DNA that prevents him from feeling any kind of social embarrassment. I feel the Exact Opposite to that pretty much all the time.” 

4. Rosalind has a Major Emotional Meltdown On A Colossal Scale when she finds out her auntie is coming for Christmas Day. Rosalind can’t speak in front of her, so it means she’ll have to spend the whole day in complete silence. 

5. Her parents invited Rosalind’s auntie because it’s her first Christmas since getting divorced, and they didn’t want her to spend the day alone. Like a lot of people who have family members with mental health conditions, or other types of conditions, Rosalind’s parents find it difficult to balance Rosalind’s needs with the needs of the rest of the family. They don’t always get it right.

6. Rosalind’s angry, emotional outpouring of words on Christmas Day was a difficult scene to write, and one that illustrator Emma Trithart captures beautifully in a ‘word tsunami’. Luckily, Rosalind’s little brother Seb is there to brighten the mood with one of his Brilliant Ideas.

Emma Trihart

7. Rosalind spends a lot of time with her ex-Christian Missionary and slightly crazy cat lady next-door neighbour, Mrs Quinney, who tells her bible stories (and gets annoyed if the cats aren’t listening). Although her family aren’t religious, Rosalind prays a lot in the book. And becomes a little obsessed with looking for signs from God. She craves support and guidance and, because of her SM, isn’t always able to ask for help. The one thing she wants more than anything is a friend.

8. Christmas Day is the first time Rosalind tells her parents about the bullying she’s been experiencing. I wanted to write a book that explored the instinct that many young people have to hide bullying from parents and teachers – the very people who would be able to help. This is an important scene in the book because it’s when Rosalind takes the first very brave step towards opening up.

9. On Boxing Day morning, Rosalind discovers an unopened gift. It’s a diary given to her by speech therapist Octavia, who as Rosalind says, “is not exactly an angel, but not exactly a normal person either.” In it, Octavia has written a quote from Maya Angelou – ‘If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.’ 

10. This quote has an enormous impact on Rosalind. And a thought comes into her head that changes everything: ‘What if I could be more than just a nobody?’ 

Thank you for reading! What did you think of Being Miss Nobody, if you’ve read it? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

PS- head over to Twitter, where I’m running a giveaway of this boo today for a chance to win it! UK only.

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Anthology Review: Winter Magic

Hello everybody!

Today, for day 10 of blogmas, I’m going to be reviewing the fabulous Winter Magic anthology, which was released last year. I had so much fun rereading this!

Onto the reviews!

A Night at the Frost Fair by Emma Carroll– WHAT an opening! It’s the story of Maya, whose gran is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and the timeslip adventure at a frost fair she goes on after recieving a mysterious object from her gran. The frost fair was so well described it felt as though it was alive and I was really there, and I thought the paralells between the treatment of Edmund (the boy May meets at the fair) and gran in the present day were really clever.


The Magic of Midwinter by Amy Alward
– a short story set in Alward’s Potion Diaries world, the story is about alchemist Sam’s journey to Midwinter to meet the Svenland elves, and arriving to a surprise. The world felt so magical and well built, I adored the elves (especially Uyuni) and I thought the friendship between Sam and her companion Princess Evelyn was lovely in this. I don’t think it would confuse readers new to the Potion Diaries world either.


The Voice in the Snow by Michelle Harrison
– this revisits some of the characters we meet in the Other Alice, namely Gypsy and Piper. I found the plot of this quite complex for a short story and thought it would have worked better as something longer, but I love Michelle Harrison’s world of sinsiter magic and the fact I got to see what became of these characters. I also really like their relationship and the way that ended up.


The Cold Hearted by Geraldine McCaughrean
– this was the story of Fergal and the mysterious, slightly magical people who help him save his family from under an avalanche. I loved the whimsical writing style and grew attached to Fergal in the short number of pages. It also featured a golden retriever called Summer (which is actually what I’d call my next golden, if I ever get one!) so I have to love it for that reason too.


Casse-Noisette by Katherine Woodfine-
in her beautiful ballet inspired contribution, Katherine Woodfine tells the story of Stana, who has been chosen to dance in the first performance of the Nutcracker. Katherine Woodfine’s writing is so beautiful yet still moves on the story at a perfect pace and I thought Stana was a wonderfully relatable heroine. Finally, the love of the ballet really shines through this, and I adored the bittersweet ending.

Someone Like the Snow Queen by Berlie Doherty– I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It’s about Orla, who has recently lost her dad, as her little brother disappears and she has to set off on a journey to find him. I loved the parallels between this and the Snow Queen, and the slight twists Berlie Doherty put on it. I also loved the overall message of the story.

The Room with the Mountain View by Lauren St. John– this is a wintry take on Rear Window set at a ski resort, where Lexie witnesses an event crucial to the disappearance of a circus star when on bed rest with a broken leg. I love the ensuing mystery and the way it unfolds to a surprising conclusion. This has made me absolutely determined to get to Lauren’s two 2017 releases as soon as possible.

Into the Mountain by Jamila Gavin- this wasn’t my favourite of the anthology, if I’m honest. It’s based on the traditional story of the Pied Piper, but I couldn’t really grasp the plot as a whole and I wasn’t especially invested in the characters.

The Wishing Book by Piers Torday– this is the story of Ethel and a myserious, magical, slightly macabre Christmas gift she was given and how it changes her life forever. This reminded me hugely of Roald Dahl in tone and I really enjoyed it. I also loved the heartwarming ending, which I wasn’t sure was coming.

The Snow Dragon by Abi Elphinstone– what a glorious ending to a glorious collection! Curator Abj Elphinstone writes the story of an orphan called Phoebe (who lives in awful orphanage run by Griselda Bone) as she is whisked away by the magical snow dragon. I absolutely loves Phoebe, who is so brave and determined, and her little dancing dog Herbie, and the snow dragon couldn’t possibly have been any more magical and special. I absolutely must get to more of Abi’s books soon, because this was exceptional.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite stories in this collection, if you’ve read it? (If you couldn’t tell mine are Night at the Frost Fair, Casse-Noisette and the Snow Dragon!) Is it on your TBR, if not? Are you a fan of any of the contributing authors? Let me know 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





Ten Books Set in Winter/at Christmas 

Hello everybody, and welcome to day 4 of blogmas!

Today, I’m planning to chat about some books I enjoyed set in Winter or at Christmas itself. 

Onto the books! 


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone– this is my favourite Harry Potter Christmas. It’s so lovely to get to see Harry experience Christmas properly for the first time, and I just really love it.

In the Fifth at Malory Towers
– this book in the series sees Darrell and ger friends put on a panto that sounds brilliant. It’s Cinderella, which is my favourite panto, and I’d really love to see this version with original songs and stunning costumes. There’s also an intersting msytery ober who’s sending poison pen letters to the director…

Winter Term at Malory Towers
– this is my very favourite Malory Towers book, despite it being written by by Pamela Cox and about Darrell’s sister Felicity and her friends. It’s about the girls planning/performing a winter play, battling with malicious new mistress Miss Tallant and also two unusual new girls. June and Freddie’s prank is quite possibly the best of the series, too.


Frost Hollow Hall
– this has one of the most beautiful, wintry covers I’ve ever seen and it feautyres tons of wintry goodness inside too, such as a dramatic ice skating scene. Emma Carroll’s writing is just beautiful, and I HIGHLY recommend everything by her, but especially this for the season.

Issie and the Christmas Pony-
in the festive prequel to Pony Club Secrets, we get to see how Issie and her beloved first horse Mystic meet. It’s so nice to see their relationship as we don’t see huge amounts of Mystic in the usual series, and also Issie’s other horses in a flash forward sort of thinh st the end. This’ll make you cry if you’re anything like me, but it’s well worth a read (particularly if you’re a horse lover)


Mistletoe and Murder
– the 5th in the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries series sees Daisy and Hazel head to Cambridge for Christmas, and become emroiled in solving yet another murder. I love how cosy yet slightly creepy this is, and the Christmas scene at the end is brilliant. The festive section headers are so fun too!

The Mystery of the Dinosaur Discovery
– in the 7th Adventure Island book, Jack, Emily, Scott and Drift the dog discover a dinosaur skeleton, and have to work out whether it truly is a fake or if someone has sabotaged the tests. I love this series, and Dinosaur Discovery is no exception. The way Emily works out the culprit is so clever especially and you’ll kick yourself for not working it out! I know I did.


The Ghost Light
– this isn’t set at Christmas, but it feautures several scenes with snow and I’ve decided to include it for that. I really like the Alice Jones mysteries, and I wish more people would pick them up! The Ghost Light is a creepy theatre mystery, and it’s so fun to see the mystery unravel.

The Mystery of the Midnight Peacock
– this book is an excellent conclusion to the Sinclair’s Nysteries in general, and to make it even better it’s set in Winter! There’s a winter ball, a dramatic New Year’s countdown, and we get to see the luxurious Sinclair’s Department Store just before Christmas.


Snowbound
– the events of this book (a massive snowstorm ) are basically my worst nightmare. However, it’s good fun to read! It’s about the different situations the BSC members find themselves in during a snowstorm, and how they make the best of them.
Thank you for reading! What books set in winter or at Christmas would you recommend? What do you think of my choices? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

My Most Anticipated Releases of 2018 (January to April)

Hello everybody!

Welcome to day 2 of blogmas! Today, since we’ve kicked off the countdown to Christmas (related/unrelated point: I am in LOVE with my Thorntons Gruffalo advent calender this year), I thought it’d be fun to talk about some of the books I’m counting down to in the first few months of 2018. (There are a lot more, but these are my top ten! Of which 90% are MG, which isn’t really that surprising seeing I tend to love them most)

Onto the books!


The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson– I enjoyed Lisa’s debut The Goldfish Boy last year, ans I’m VERY excited for this one. If anything, it sounds even better, andif the synopsis is anything to go by I have a feeling I’ll adore Nate.


Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll
– the Queen of Historical Fiction is a fitting description of Emma Carroll. I’m head over heels with each and every one of Emma’s books (particularly the Girl Who Walked on Air, with a brave, feisty yet relatable heroine, a darling little dog and also the dreamy Gabriel Swift). This is set in France and it’s about the first hot air balloon flight, and I have no reason to believe I won’t be raving about this to anyone who’ll listen to me too.

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone
– Confession: I have only read one book by Abi Elphinstone before, The Dream Snatcher, and while I liked it (and her short story from Winter Magic) very much, I’ve just never got round to the others. I will get round to them eventually! Sky Song sounds like too good an adventure to put off though, and everyone I know who’s read it thinks it’s exceptional.


A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens
– as a longtime Murder Most Unladylike fan, I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for this book! As good as the Guggenheim Mystery was, I’m in desperate need of some Wells and Wong goodness. Also, I’m intrigued to see how Daisy and Hazel’s friendship may change when this book is set at Hazel’s home in Hong Kong (not to mention Hong Kong itself!)

Brighstorm by Vashti Hardy
– this is a debut novel, and it’s an MG adventure with a skyship and twins, which are very relevant to my interests/tastes, and I’ve heard praise from a couple of authors who’ve already received proofs. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on it!

Battle of the Beetles by M.G Leonard
– I’m unbelievably excited for the conclusion to this trilogy, which I’ve been in love with since soon after Beetle Boy’s release. I adore the charcaters and the beetles, the plot and the writing style, and the villain Lucretia Cutter is so evil! These feel like modern classics, and I’m desperate to find out what the ending will be.

A Witch Alone by James Nicol
– I really liked the Apprentice Witch last year, and I’ve been waiting for ages on the sequel. I’m planning to reread to remind myself of the characters too, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Arianwyn next.

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
– this is Sophie Cameron’s debut novel and I’m looking forward to it for a number of reasons. It’s set in Edinburgh, some friends I really trust with book recommendations loved it and I’m a pretty big fan of some good magical realism.

Beyond the Odyssey by Maz Evans-
I have adored the first two installments of this series this year, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Elliot next, to see more crazy antics from the gods and to experience another rollercoaster of emotions; going from laughter to tears in very short spaces.

When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth
– if you’ve read basically a single other post on this blog, you will know I love Running on the Roof of the World by this author a huge amount. I cannot wait for her 2nd novel, which is set to feature a leopard!!

Thank you for reading! What’s your advent calender this year? What books are top of your wish list next year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl
Amy xxx

Meet My Bookmarks!

Hello everybody!

Today, I thought it might be fun to introduce you to my bookmark collection, seeing how much I love having a nosy at what other people use!


Onto the bookmarks…

First of all, these are my booktails, which I have recently completed my collection of properly. I was given my 1st one, the slightly bedraggled looking (now) jaguar, by my aunt and uncle a few years ago for my birthday. With the exception of my jaguars who are named after my uncle (Walter) and then to alliterate with him, Wanda, all of ny booktails are named in alliteration with their animal: Bertie and Bella the bears, Poppy the pig (who Saffy takes great delight in chewing, far more so than all the others, for some reason. Saffy is my younger golden retriever, if you’re new around here), Daisy the dog, Clover the cow (not pictured) and Sasha the sheep.

Next, my Alex Clark magnetic collection. These were only a recent addition, but I’m obsessed with them already. Fun fact: one of these was intended as a Christmas gift for my gran, but I just couldn’t say goodbye when it arrived. I’ll be placing another order soon to replace it, and if a few other I have my eye on slip in, who am I to stop them…? (And maybe a mug too 😉)

I also have these gorgeous ones which I bought from the Grace Darling Museum. I barely ever use them as they get crushed and crinkled very easily in bags or moving about, but they’re very pretty to look at it, and I believe at least part of the money I paid for them goes to the RNLI, who do such amazing work.

Finally, my odds and ends; a few slogan bookmarks, one with my name on it and also this stunning one someone once drew for me based on a photo of Shimmer and Saffy .  I tend to use these on the rare occasions when I’m reading more than one book to keep my place in the one I start second. The slogan ones do make me laugh! I used to have an amazing tiger one too, which had a super true statement about mornings on it: “I love mornings… I just wish they came later in the day ”

So those are just about all of my bookmarks! Do ypu have any favourites in my collection? Do you use bookmarks? What are your favourites? Tell me about them in the comments or even send a photo on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

#sixforsunday: War Books

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part once again in #sixforsunday, hosted by wonderful Steph. Today’s theme is war books, of which I’ve read some amazing, heatbreaking stories.

Onto the books! 


War Horse by Michael Morpurgo- this is one of the first things I remember ever crying over. It’s a gorgeous book about how World War One rips apart the life pf a boy called Albert and his horse Joey, and their journey to find each other again.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker- shamefully, I haven’t yet read this one, but it’s so similar in synopsis to War Horse I couldn’t resist including it. It’s a very similar story, except it’s about a boy and his fox. I can’t wait to finally devour it (though I am certain it’ll make me cry!)

Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian- Speaking of books which make me cry, this absolutely destroyed me. It’s about shy, strange Willie Beech as he is evacuated to the countryside and is sent to live with Mr Tom Oakley, and how it changes his life forever. While this is an amazing book, I definetely wouldn’t allow anyone under about 10 to read it as some parts really preyed on my mind aged 14.

Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll- Another evacuee story, although this one has much more of a focus on Jewish refugees! It’s a fabulous read, as is everything by Emma Carroll, and I highly recommend it. It focuses on Olive and her little brother Clive as they move to the seaside, and are taken in by the mysterious lighthouse keeper. 

Carries War by Nina Bawden- I can’t remember a great deal about this one, but it was my first time really learning about the war and what it was, when it was my class book in P5 or P6, and I definetly remember liking it more than most of the stuff (read: drivel) we got forced to study.

A Million Angels by Kate Maryon- This was a really sad story about a girl called Jemima whose dad is away fighting in Afghanistan, and again I found it a reakky upsetting read. It also explores World War Two through the eyes of Jemima’s gran. 

What do you think of these books, if you’ve read them? Are any on your TBR? What books set during wartime would you recommend? I’d really love to hear from you down in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx