BOOKISH BUDDIES : Our Favourite Illustrators

Hello everybody!
Today, I’m doing a joint post with Layla, who I buddy read a book with every month and then do a post somehow related to it. Last month, we read Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell, and while we had quite  mixed opinions on the book we did both love the illustrations within, so we’ve decided to talk about some of our favourite illustrators.

Onto the post!


MY PICKS


Leo Hartas (Adventure Island)-
I adore the line drawings throughout this series so much. They make the world so real and I love the way he captures Scott, Jack, Emily, the people they meet throughout their adventures and of course Drift the dog!


Becka Moor-
I adore Becka Moor’s illustrations, especially in Karen McCombie’s St Grizzle’s series, and I’ve been known to buy things just because she’s illustrated them. Her drawings are always so humorous and they add so much to their stories. I can’t wait to read a few more books with Becka illustrating, and even just ogle books without interiors she’s designed the cover for.


Inbali Iserles
– I recently read (and loved) The Taken by this author, and her chapter headers are absolutely stunning. I really hope there will be more of the same as I continue with the trilogy. Who doesn’t love gorgeous fox illustrations? I actually wish there had been a whole new illustration in every chapter, as the same (utterly stunning) ones were repeated througout.

Honourable mention to Kathryn Durst- while I’ve only read one book with her illustrations (Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire, which I adored), I’m pretty certain Kathryn will be a favourite illustrator of mine one day.


LAYLA’S PICKS


Beatrix Potter
–  A childhood favourite of mine, Beatrix Potter’s illustrations are timeless and beautiful. Throughout the whole range of Peter Rabbit stories, Potter uses watercolours to gently bring out the characters and to give them life. The colours she used were so pretty and dainty; I always loved sitting down to stare at the beautiful artwork. My favourite character is definitely Miss TiggyWinkle – she always had spikes sticking out of her shawl!


Brett Helquist-
Brett Helquist’s art can be found in the book series A Series Of Unfortunate Events. It’s iconic, it’s dark, and the characters were so perfectly matched to the book descriptions it thrilled me to bits whenever I got to an illustrated page in the book to take a look at which scene was before my eyes. I particularly loved his illustrations of Count Olaf, with his long nose, spindly arms, and wild hair.


Shirley Hughes
– Ah – my favourite illustrator of my childhood! I don’t quite know why I love Shirley Hughes so much, but it’s something about her sketchy artwork and loveable characters that really made everything come together. There is something so British about it, especially her poetry about the seasons. The accompanying artwork of rain-soaked roads, brown leaves, sunsets and much more just made me feel all over cosy. I think I’ll always love Shirley Hughes’ work.

Who are your favourite illustrators? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl or @readablelife
Amy xx

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The Book Asthethics Tag

Hi everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in the Book Asthethics Tag, which I was tagged for by Laura, whose blog I love! It was created by Michelle from The Reading Hufflepuff.

The rules:  

  • Thank the person who nominated you. Thank you Laura! I had lots of fun wth this!
  • Credit the tag’s creator– Michelle.
  • There’s no limit of how many aesthetics you can make for a question.
  • Make your OWN aesthetics, please don’t steal them from someone else.

Onto the tag!

1. Favourite book of the year- Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth 

As I’ve probably bored you with by now, I’ve had three total stand out sorts of favourites this year, so for ease I picked the one I thought I could make the best aesthetic of.

2. A character you relate to- Coraline/Snow White and Laura Marlin

I was really struggling with this one, so I asked some blogging buddies who I remind them of. Charlotte picked Coraline/Snow White, and Louise picked Laura Marlin. 

3. A character you look up to- Ade from Boy in the Tower 

I admire Ade so much. He’s strong, brave and brilliant. I love how caring he is; that he never gives up even though things are so bleak.
4. An underrated gem- the 39 Clues series

This series is incredible, but barely anyone’s ever heard of it! Please go and check them out; they’re round the globe adventures featuring a feuding family and an unusual, and often deadly, inheritance task that will have you on the edge of your seat.

5. A character who deserves more love- Valor from Prisoner of Ice and Snow 

I think Valor’s an incredible heroine in this book, but I know others who weren’t as keen, hence why I chose her for this question.

6. An underrated OTP; Nick and Harriet from Geek Girl 

I’m not sure if Lion Boy (😍😍) and Freckles are actually underrated, or if I just think they are because I love them so much, but I’m still choosing them. They’re the best and I genuinely couldn’t love them any more together.

Thank you for reading! I’m tagging Kelly and Rebecca. Which of my asthethics do you like best? Do you agree with my answers? Let me knkw in the comments!

Amy xxx

#sixforsunday: Diverse Books

Hello everybody! Today, I’m taking part in the FABULOUS Six for Sunday meme, hosted by the lovely Steph. Today’s prompt was diverse books, so without further ado here are 6 I love!


Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli- I love this book huge amounts. It’s about Simon, who is in love with an Internet correspondent called Blue, as he comes out to his friends and family and everything that happens in his life during that period. It’s so funny and cosy and clever, and Simon is so incredibly sweet. 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli- Becky Albertalli’s 2nd novel is diverse both in terms of race and sexuality, and one of it’s main themes is the main character Molly discovering that being fat doesn’t make her unattractive or inferior, which I think was really refreshing to see in a book! 

The Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries by Robin Stevens- These books feature a Chinese main character in Hazel Wong (who I desperately want to be my best friend/sister, please and thank you) and they explore the racism that ethnic minorities would face during the time period. My heart absolutely breaks for Hazel in some scenes; the way she gets treated can be awfully unfair. We also some LGBT romances taking place, and other ethnic minority characters are introduced as the books go on.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman- This book is incedibly diverse; not one of the main characters is straight, and it’s utterly amazing. It starts off with such light humour and gets darker and deeper as it develops, and also features one of the most evil characters I’ve ever read (I won’t say who, cause spoilers, but I really hate them. If you do too, please come hate on them with me! 😠)

Susie Day- One of my favourite things about Susie Day is that her books are incredibly diverse, and I think it’s done very naturally and explored amazingly. They’re also just generally great contemporary MG!

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson- This books features two trans protagonists, David and Leo, and I adore it. They’re both fabulous characters and there are scenes which take my breath away. I highly recommend it!

What are your favourite diverse books? I’d love to hear in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

Guest Post: Zoe’s Halloween Horror Recommendations

Happy Halloween everyone!

To celebrate the occasion, I asked my lovely friend Zoe, of the equally fabulous No Safer Place, who is a huge horror fan (unlike me, who is a huge wuss) to write some horror recommendations. Enjoy! 

Amy xxx

Over to Zoe 😊


I have loved horror for as long as I can remember. I believe books started this love. My earliest memory of horror is reading Goosebumps and Shivers books when I was around 7/8 and the love only grew from there. Today I thought I’d share my love of horror over the years, starting with my favourite horror book as a child, to my favourite horror book now.

A Ghostly Playmate (Shivers) by M.D. Spenser

So this book was the first horror book I fell in love with. I must have been around 7 when I read it and it terrified me. The idea of moving into a new house, feeling lonely and finding a friendly ghost who wants to be your friend – only to find out she wants you to be her friend forever and she’ll do whatever it takes to get you onto her side…I mean, that’s pretty terrifying. Shivers books are brilliant and if you haven’t read them, pick them up on Amazon!

Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps) by R.L Stine

Once I got the taste for horror, I couldn’t stop. Slappy is one of my all time favourite characters. I went to a Goosebumps Alive adult experience recently and I don’t think I’ve ever been as terrified as when I saw Slappy brought to life. Who doesn’t love a good ventriloquist dummy coming to life and trying to kill you? R.L Stine has been one of my favourite authors since I was about 8, and he still is!

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Horror in YA is seriously lacking and this breaks my heart. As a lover of YA and horror, nothing made me happier when I found Alex Bell. I read Frozen Charlotte as part of the Zoella Book Club and completely fell in love. Creepy dolls that come to life and torture you and force you to do some truly horrific things. What’s not to love? The prequel Charlotte Says is even better – and even more brutal!

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Adult horror. I hadn’t read this until a few months ago. Obviously I’d seen the film, loved the TV series and I really wanted to read the original material. It was so much better than the film (I expected no less) and honestly, some of the detail and description is so graphic, it made me feel physically sick…but isn’t that the best part about horror?

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Does this really need an explanation? Dracula is one of the most stunning books ever written and when I read Dracula, aged 14, it changed horror for me. I had a new found adoration for the genre, particularly for vampires and I still do. There is something about Dracula that is just so bloody (excuse the pun!) beautiful.

What are your favourite horror books? What are you reading this Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!

#sixforsunday: Thrillers (Scary Books)

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in Six for Sunday, hosted by the lovely Steph and for today’s theme of Scary Books I decided to talk about some thrillers I really enjoyed

Onto the books!


Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy-
This is the story of Jennifer Jones, and what happened the day three friends walked out of town and only two come back. I think it’s better to go in blind for this to really enjoy it, but it’s a slow-burning thriller that’s also, in my opinion, incredibly touching.


The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke-
This is another slow-burner, but trust me, the shocking ending (I gasped, genuinely and audibly) makes it so worth it. It tells the story of Faith, whose sister Laurel was kidnapped when they were children, and how her life changes dramatically when Laurel very unexpectedly reappears. Faith is such a witty, complex character who I really enjoyed spending time, the flawed family dynamics are fascinating and as the subject matter would imply, is completley chilling in places.


Girlhood by Cat Clarke –
Yes, I’m including another Cat Clarke book. #sorrynotsorry. This was part of the Zoella Book Club earlier this year but I read it just before that was announced, and I loved it. It takes pkace in a very twisted boarding school called Duncraggan, and it focuses on toxic female friendships after new girl Kirsty arrives and starts behaving strangely. It’s not a conventional thriller in terms of it being about crime, and I’m not a huge fan of the ending, but it most definetely kept me on the edge of my seat.


The Day I Met Suzie by Chris Higgins –
this is about Indie’s life and how it unravels as Suzie arrives at college and turns everything upside down. It’s such a chilling story, as it feels like something that could happen in real life. Details are revealed at exactly the right moments, at the perfect pace and I genuinely felt awful for Indie when I was reading. I highly recommend this one!


One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
– Described as Pretty Little Liar meets the Breakfast Club, this tells the story of what happens when 5 teenagers walk into detention, and only 4 come back out. It’s fast paced, with characters I fell in love with, and I highly recommend it.


Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie-
This was the first thriller I read, and as that was quite a long time ago I can’t remember a huge deal about the plot. It’s about Lauren as she discovers her adoption possibly wasn’t totally legit, and her journey to discover what happened to her. It all got a bit nuts (even more so in the other books of the trilogy) but it was totally gripping and I loved side character Jam.


Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite thrillers? What did you think of my choices, if you’ve read them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl 😊


Amy xxx 

Blog Tour: Lari Don’s Favourite Myths

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m incredibly excited to welcome Lari Don as part of her blog tour for the phenomenal Spellchasers trilogy. I hope you’ll enjoy reading her post as much as I did!


I love the old stories. I love myths, legends, fairy tales and folktales. I love them so much I want to rub them with my sleeve and make them shiny and new (just like Aladdin’s lamp…) 

I try to make them new in two ways:

I retell them, out loud to audiences and in books. When I retell traditional tales, I quite openly tweak or change or rip them apart (because oral stories have always been changed by storytellers, that’s how they evolve.) 

I also make the old stories new by taking little snippets of magic and monsters and bouncing off them to create fictional adventures of my own. 

As a child, I loved dragon stories. Dragons are the perfect magical monster. The size! The fire! The teeth! The wings! And there are dragon stories from all over the world, so you can travel round the globe from dragon tale to dragon tale. 

Favourite dragon story: The Laidly Wyrm (from North of England, about a girl who is cursed to turn into a dragon) 

The first connected series of stories I discovered were the Greek myths, with all that family drama, and all those wonderful creatures like centaurs and minotaurs, which made me want to create my own mix and match monsters with scissors and glue…

Favourite Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur (how to defeat the monster in the maze)

I also grew up loving shapeshifter stories, because Scottish folklore is filled with shapeshifters, like the kelpie (an underwater monster who can become human or horse to lure children to the water) and the selkie (who can be human or seal, and is often forced to stay on land when an unscrupulous fisherman hides her sealskin) 

Favourite shapeshifter story: The Tale of Tam Linn (from the Scottish Borders, about a boy stolen by the Fairy Queen) 

As I read more widely, I fell in love with the Viking myths. These are the myths that speak to me most clearly, possibly because they’re set in harsh rocky winter, rather than Mediterranean sunlight. I love the stories of Fenrir the wolf, Kara the Swan Warrior, and Ragnar Shaggy-Breeks. 

Favourite Viking myth: The Death of Baldur (the story I tell most often to 11 year olds…) 

I’m always searching for my favourite stories of all: stories with strong female protagonists. My quest for girls who defeat their own monsters has so far led me to Inanna the Sumerian goddess of love and war, to Nana Miriam the Nigerian girl who defeated a fire-breathing hippo, to Chi the Chinese girl who defeated a seven-headed dragon, and to many more… 

Favourite heroine story: Tale of Tam Linn again! (Because the Scottish boy who was stolen by the fairy queen, was saved by a girl called Janet)

All these traditional tales inspire my adventure novels. For example, there are dragons, centaurs and minotaurs in the Fabled Beast Chronicles. 

And my new Spellchasers trilogy is filled with shapeshifters, with characters who relish their power to change into horses and crows, and characters who are trapped as toads and hares. The biggest villain in the trilogy is inspired by a mix of Sumerian and Egyptian mythology, and the curse-lifting workshop at the heart of the book has a sphinx as a pupil.

And all my adventure books contain strong girls (as well as strong boys, and intermittently useful magical animals…) 

I love the old stories. I love writing new stories inspired by the magic of the old tales. And when the new stories are written, I settle back down and lose myself in the old stories again. I wonder what story I will rub with my ragged sleeve next… 

About the Author


Lari Don is a full-time children’s writer and storyteller. She grew up in the North East of Scotland and now lives in Edinburgh. She writes in her garden shed, helped by purring cats and hindered by lurking spiders. Lari has written more than 20 books, including adventure novels, picture books and retellings of traditional tales.  She can be found on Twitter @LariDonWriter or at http://www.laridon.co.uk

The Spellchasers trilogy is available and out now.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite myths? Do you love retellings of them? What are your favourites? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Amy xxx

#sixforsunday: Books That Made Me Cry

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m taking part in Steph’s fabulous Six for Sunday meme, and today’s theme is books that made us cry. I cry at quite a lot of books, so I’ve decided to speak about six which particularly emotionally destroyed me! 😭

Let’s get started! (In noparticular order)

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen – Im not sure what it is about this book that makes me cry. I think it’s Ade. His bravery and narration is wonderful; the real star attraction of the story, and also the community spirit we see as the book progresses. Even the opening pages make me well up now, because I know all of the journey that’s to come.

Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter- This has been one of my favouritereads this year, and it made me incredibly emotional. I cried quite a bit, but I also laughed and smiled. It’s a very special book, and I can’t wait to reread it and read more from Tamsin Winter. 

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth- Like the above, this book is a total emotional rollercoaster, and I cried several times. In one scene involving the yaks (which I won’t spoil), Jess Butterworth broke my heart. She put it back together by the end though, and her writing is so stunning and special I don’t mind anyway.

Summer’s Dream by Cathy Cassidy- Summer’s struggle with anorexia, which we see in this book most prominently, is devastating, and certainly made me cry in places.

Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls- Sam’s story tore my heart apart, and the ending cemented this. It’s such a beautiful, heartwarming and heartbreaking story, and even though I barely ever hear anyone mentioning it anymore I think it’ll stay with me forever. 

Trash by Andy Mulligan- this story tells of 3 boys in a 3rd world country, eho have to sift through trash to survive. The subject matter is heartwrenching, and all too real, and it’s the first book I remember being absolutely broken by. I can’t remember everything about it now, as it’s quite a few years since I’ve read it and I’m too scared to pick it up again, but it had a huge effect on me at the time. 

Thank you so much for reading! What books made you cry, if any? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

See you soon with a new post, 

Amy xxx