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





5 Books with Great Food in Them

Hello everybody, and welcome to day 8 of blogmas!

Today, as food is quite a big part of Christmas for lots of people, I thought it would be fun to talk about books which feature lots of it.

Onto the post! 

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon– this is one of my favourite YA books of all time. It’s about Lottie, still struggling to cope with the loss of her dad, and Mac, who feels trpped by his nightmare home life, and them finding each through the new school Bake Club. The recipes (which the characters cook, and we are given!) are varied and so much fun to read about (even though I probably wouldn’t eat any of them 🙈)


The Secret Cooking Club/Confetti and Cake by Laurel Remington
– these are lovely middle grade stories about Scarlett, who has abandoned all her hobnies due to her oversharing mum blogger mum, finding an escape in cooking. This leads to new friendships, a whole lot of fun and her life taking a turn for the better. And it features lots of yummy sweet treats, hence why it’s on this list!


Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries by Robin Stevens
– this  book (and all it’s equally excellent sequels) introduced readers to the concept of bunbreak, and rarely a day or two goes by where I do not see that word in my social media circle somewhere. I also indulge in one myself from time to time… . I absolutely love all delicious ones we see superstar sleuths Daisy and Hazel indulging in throughout.


Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
– this is an admittedly weird addition to this list given the main food choice (which I shall not tell you) but the scenes where all the characters come together to eat are probably my favourites as they really drive home the message of a struggling community leaning on each other.


Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
– the Hogwarts feasts are quite literally magical, and I would seriousky love to attend one if I could (*sobs loudly*). Also, the company would be amazing. I’d get to laugh with the Weasley twins, eavesdrop on the Golden Trio’s crazy plans for whatever they’re doing next and comfort lovely Neville in his lower moments. 
Thank you for reading! What books with great food can you think of? Do we share any answers? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

A Christmas Q and A with Ruth Lauren!

Hello everybody!

Today, for day 7 of blogmas, I have a festive interview with the fabulous Ruth Lauren, author of Prisoner of Ice and Snow, which I loved.

Onto the post! 

Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for being here!

Thanks for inviting me!

1. What made you decide to create a wintry world? How did you go about creating that atmosphere? I really just wanted to make the prison in the book the most hostile of places and to utilise the landscape and the conditions to further that. The cold and the ice and snow are used as punishments but I do think there’s beauty alongside the cruelty of winter in Demidova. Writing constant cold you do have to be mindful of how that would feel to the characters and how it would impact on everything they do, so can it can be an impediment, but it can also be a wonderful way of making things more difficult for your characters!

2. Do you ever plan on creating festivals within Demidova? There is actually a Saint’s Day week long celebration in Book 2, Seeker of the Crown! (although it does get overshadowed by a shocking event which I won’t say anything about because spoilers). 

3. If you could create a new festival in the real world, what would it be? Which season would it be held in? How would it be celebrated? Well since I already celebrate Christmas in winter, something in the summer would be nice. How about a month long Festival of Books (and maybe cake?) in July? Permanent reading/cake for the entire month. Should I speak to my MP about this?

4. What does Christmas mean to you? What would be your perfect way to spend the day? I spend Christmas with family. I love getting presents for my kids. Just once, I’d really like it to actually snow on Christmas Day. That would be perfect. 

5. What`s the best Christmas gift you`ve ever been given? Books! I always ask for books. But I did have a bike, probably in 1986, that was pretty cool too. 

6. What are your favouite winter/Christmas pastimes? Last year I went tobogganing and ice skating with my family. That was really fun.  

7. Do you have any Christmas traditions? On Christmas Day I will be eating apple and blackberry crumble and drinking Prosecco whilst wearing an extremely nice dress despite the fact that I won’t be leaving the house. Many Quality Street will be eaten. 

CHRISTMAS QUICKFIRE

1. Your favourite Christmas film? Scrooged with Bill Murray. 

2. The bookish Christmas you`d most like to be part of? The end of the Long Winter in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. 

3. Would you rather build a snowman or go sledging? Snowman. 

4. Your favourite Christmas song? Winter Wonderland.

5. Your favourite food to eat? Quality Street.

6. Would you rather go on a flight with reindeer or spend the day with elves making toys? Flight!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed learing a little more about Ruth! For today in the comments, I’d like to know YOUR answer to the last question. What would you rather do and why? 

See you tomorrow, 

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Layla of Readable Life’s Top 5 Wizarding World Christmas Gifts

Welcome to day 5 of blogmas! To celebrate the fact that there are now only 20 days till the Day itself, I have a guest post from my lovely friend Layla about the Christmas gifts she’d choose from the wizarding world. Hope you love this as much as I did! 


Amy xxx

 
Merry Blogmas everyone! While I’m not doing anything blogmas related over on my own blog, I thought that I’d participate in a small way by contributing this guest post for Amy! We were brainstorming ideas and I knew that I wanted to write something to do with Harry Potter. So when the idea came up for gifts from the wizarding world I’d love for Christmas, we were SO excited! Without further ado…

Five Wizarding World Items I Want For Christmas

A Nimbus 2001.

I know that everyone goes on about having a Firebolt – it is the fastest broom – but there’s something about the sleek, dark design of the Nimbus 2001 that would seem like an absolute dream.

Floo Powder.

Okay so how cool would it be to have a pot of Floo Powder? Thinking that I can’t apparate, this is the next best thing to insta-travel. I just have to make sure I don’t mess up my pronunciation, or I’ll end up in Knockturn Alley…

Exploding Snap.

Snap with a twist! This just seems like it would be great fun to play, especially between a group of friends! Plus it doesn’t seem like it would cause any major arguments like Monopoly would…

An unlimited supply of Fizzing Whizbees.

These would be, without a doubt, my favourite wizarding world sweet. When the films first came out, there was a line of real life sweets that these were included in and they were so. Damn. GOOD. I would love to have them just once more, but to ask for an unlimited supply from the wizarding world will have to do!

A Pygmy Puff.

Pygmy Puffs are adorable. They don’t seem as naughty as Nifflers, and I already have a cat, so I think I’ll go for a little purple ball of fluff with a face and call it a cute name.


There you have it – my Christmas wishlist from the Wizarding World! I hope I’ve inspired you to think of your own list – why not write one on your blog using the tag Wizarding World Christmas or tell us down in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl and @readablelife? I’d LOVE to see your lists!

I’ll see you next time! Come visit my blog sometime, you might even find something nice there!


Layla @ readablelifeblog.wordpress.com

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