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.

Advertisements

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





Guest Post: Katie of Exploration of Creation’s Cosy Christmas Reads

Hello everybody!

Today, on the 3rd day of blogmas, I’m thrilled to welcome my lovely friend Katie to chat about some of her favourite cosy Christmas reads.

Over to Katie! 

The ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ anthology –This anthology has a ton of really festive, cosy stories, by a really wide variety of amazing YA authors. My personal favourite is Stephanie Perkins’s story (she’s also the editor, which is really cool – there’s also an awesome summertime anthology) but honestly a large majority of the stories were really, really enjoyable – I found this pretty unusual, because usually in an anthology, a good few are bound to not be my type of read. There are some other amazing YA authors in this book who I adore, too, like Rainbow Rowell & Jenny Han. I will definitely be re-reading this one during December. If you want to feel all cosy and happy and sappy this Christmas, give this one a go. It’s also super easy to pick up and put down whenever you like, because each individual story is so short (yet so well-rounded!!).

Let It Snow -This is a collection of three stories, written by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and the exceptionally talented John Green. I enjoyed the reading experience of this book SO MUCH. Not only was it super festive, but it was also so incredibly funny. I had never read anything from Maureen or Lauren before, so discovering their amazing writing styles was a great surprise, and I already knew and loved John Green, so this simply exemplified that adoration. If you want something really cheerful, but beautifully written, this Christmas, this is definitely the one for you!! 

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone– Actually, I’d like to recommend the entire Harry Potter series because, a) I’ll do that every chance I get, with any possible excuse but also, b) all of the Harry Potter books have wonderfully cosy Christmas moments. The only exception is Deathly Hallows, where Christmas becomes this forgotten, hazy memory for Harry and Hermione, and it’s so eerie and sad to see how far they’ve come from their first Christmas at Hogwarts. I always love reading about what Harry got sent for Christmas, from the lovely treats he receives from Mrs & Mr Weasley, the hilariously weird things from Dobby and the ridiculously stingy “gifts” sent from the Dursleys. Ultimately, though, the Harry Potter books are so cosy and fun to read all year around, not just at Christmas.

Little Women– This is one of my ultimate favourite classic novels and it’s also one of the first books I read and fell in love with. It has some really festive, wonderful, nostalgic moments in it and the setting of the March house just leaps off of the page – it’s somewhere that sounds pretty magical at Christmas. If you’ve never read this book before, either because you haven’t come across it, or you’ve been too intimidated, I couldn’t possibly recommend it more. It’s really magical and beautifully written – also, I think it would be a great way to start getting into “classic” texts. The March sisters have some really complex, gorgeous relationships. I think I might re-read this one this Christmas.

Have you read any of the books Katie recommends? What did you think? What are your favourite cosy reads? (Both festive and not!). Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl

Amy xxx


Guest Post: The Cake Flavoured Book Tag 

Hello everybody! 

Today, I have a guest post for you from Liv, the fab Cake Flavoured Book Tag, which originated on #bookstagram and was adapted by Paper Fury.

Over to Liv! 


Hi, I’m Liv and I blog at livswonderfulescape.wordpress.com I would like to thank Amy for allowing me to do this post on her blog! This was really fun!

CHOCOLATE CAKE (A DARK BOOK YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE) 

The Sin Eater’s Daughter is amazing to be honest the whole trilogy is great. Say that though I need to polish off the last one.😬

VANILLA CAKE (A LIGHT READ) 

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia is such a lovely book that you could polish off in a couple of hours. I highly recommend it!

RED VELVET (A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU MIXED EMOTIONS) 

This is a hard one but I think it’s going to go to Off the Ice by Julie Cross. After reading it I thought I really enjoyed it but the more i think about it the more I’m conflicted and this really makes me sad because I love Julie Cross.

CHEESECAKE (A BOOK YOU’D RECOMMEND TO ANYONE) 

DEAR MARTIN! DEAR MARTIN! DEAR MARTIN! I don’t think I need to say anymore.❤️

COFFEE CAKE (A BOOK YOU STARTED BUT DIDN’T FINISH) 

I honestly can’t remember the last book I did not finish… actually it might have been Kings Cage ( I know,I know don’t hate me)

CARROT CAKE (A BOOK WITH GREAT WRITING)

 Wing Jones by Katherine Webber her writing is incredible and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I highly advise it.

TIRAMISU (A BOOK THAT LEFT YOU WANTING MORE) 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier one of my favourite books ever written, I could talk about it all day!

CUPCAKES (A SERIES WITH 4+ BOOKS)

The Mortal Instrument series that I have not finished 

FRUIT CAKE (A BOOK THAT WASN’T WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED) 

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater  I enjoyed it but not as much as I wanted to. I’m not sure if that makes any sense but I had heard so many great things that I expected it to be incredible.

LAMINGTON (YOUR FAVOURITE AUSTRALIAN BOOKS) 

Um Paige Toon always incorporates Australia in here books which I love. She’s also one of my favourite authors!


Huge thanks to Liv for her wonderful post! What are your favourite cakes? Do you feel the same way about any of these books ? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

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

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!

Guest Review: Mystery and Mayhem pt. 2

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m excited to welcome my wonderful friend Louise to do a review of the second half of the marvellous Mystery and Mayhem anthology. I reviewed part one on Louise’s blog a couple of days ago, and I’m planning to to review this half in the next week or so too 😊

Over to Louise! 
God’s Eye by Frances Hardinge

Newspaper owner Whyte wants a ‘Gods Eye’ view of London. Rival artists Solomon Cork and William Pother are commissioned, although they hate each other so much they refuse to fly in the air balloon together. With Cork flies his young employee Billy. Then Cork falls out of the balloon, and Billy’s friend Susan is arrested on suspicion of poisoning. 

I love the trail of clues in this mystery. It was intriguing enough to keep me reading, and had the perfect balance of believable and out-of-the-ordinary. The set-up gives us just enough people to suspect, and gives Billy reason to care for Susan. Set in the 1800s, it comes across how exciting early flight was. People dream of new possibilities as the skies become accessible to humans for the first time. 

The Mystery of the Pineapple Plot by Helen Moss

It is the 1700s. Ten years ago, a child arrived in England in a crate of pineapples. He came from the plantations, but was kept as a playmate for Lord Catchpole’s daughters. He was named for the words on the side of the crate, Quality First. 

Now Lord Catchpole’s eldest daughter Eliza is engaged against her will to Lord Ponsonby. The pineapple cuttings taken when Quality First was a small child now bare fruit, and Lord Catchpole is engaged in fierce rivalry with his neighbours for the best pineapples. When a pineapple explodes, and a worm bites Lord Ponsonby on the nose, the race is on to find out who put the worm in the pineapple before servant Sam is punished.

Beautifully written. I love Moss’s prose. Her descriptions are so subtle, and often conveyed with action rather than statement. The setting is brought to life through the focus of Lord Catchpole’s obsession with the exotic. As import became wider, new goods arrived in the UK and people became obsessed with the ‘foreign’. Moss shows how what people wanted often wasn’t the real thing, but a very British idea of what another country was. 

This was one of the few stories which wasn’t a murder mystery, and shows how widely the term can be applied. 

The Murder Of Monsieur Pierre by Harriet Whitehorn 

When Monsieur Pierre is murdered, Angelica ‘Jelly’ Beck vows to find out who did it. Was it Lady Osborne, who visited the same evening, or rival shopkeeper Monsieur Leonard?

I found this a little slow-going, but liked Angelica. We are told at the start of the story that she goes on to become a master detective, and the idea that she learned her skills in childhood must be exciting for young readers. 

Safe-Keeping by Sally Nicholls

A necklace is stolen from solicitor Mr Mathieson’s safe, and Mr Contrad is arrested. Young empolyees Billy, Arnold and Stanley set out to find the truth, inspired by the heroes of their favourite ‘tec’ stories. 

The trio of young protaganists reminded me of Katherine Woodfine’s group of young detectives. I LOVE the Sinclair mysteries, so this is positive. I liked how this story was less about the actions which happened, and more about who had the biggest motive

The Mystery Of The Purloined Pearls by Katherine Woodfine

Kitty Shaw’s pearls are stolen from her dressing room. She won’t go on stage without them, to the horror of the theatre producers. Why would anybody steal Kitty’s pearls? 

Did I mention, I love the Sinclair Mysteries? This story is set in the same world. Instead of being told by Sophie, as in the novels, it is narrated by Lil. It was lovely to be back in a familiar world, and to hear Lil’s voice in first person. The set-up is great – a group of people are introduced, and it became apparent that someone’s actions and reactions were a little out-of-sync. A little suspicious

The Mystery of Room 12 by Robin Stevens

James Kahn is left on reception one evening in his father’s hotel. He knows he checked Stella Smith in. Knows she wrote her name and went upstairs. In the morning, her name is gone, her room spotless and nobody believes James. 

Could Stella Smith be runaway Andrea Sandford? If so, what happened? Did she simply disappear? And why are the other guests so keen for him to forget he saw her? 

Unlike most of the stories in the book, it isn’t clear whether there has been a murder or any sort of incident until near the end. I love this format. Robin Stevens is masterful as what she reveals when, and I was hooked. It also had my favourite overall line, about adults: ‘they’ve been around too long, and that means they can’t see what has really happened because they’ve seen too much other stuff already’. Brilliant observation.

Thank you so much to Louise for these fabulous reviews! What did you think of this anthology, if you’ve read it? 

Amy xxx