Guest Post: The Animal Crossing Book Tag by @aimee_louise_l

Hello everybody!

Today, I have a guest post from my lovely friend Aimee Louise, which is a book tag we created together. I’m answering the questions over on her blog today, if you want to see my answers! 

 Tom Nook – a book that fleeced you – Best twist/cliffhanger

The Great Chocoplot. HOW CAN WE HAVE A WORLD WITH NO CHOCOLATE? Seriously, if this isn’t a shock horror twist then I don’t know how we can be friends.

Harriet – a book that misses the mark

For me, this is One Of Us Is Lying. As much as I enjoyed the book, I didn’t love it. I’d guessed THAT twist almost instantly and I guess I was expecting more from it. The hype surrounding it was massive, and I’m probably going to get a lot of grief for my opinion. Sorry guys, I just didn’t love it. 

Celeste – an underrated character

There are SO MANY characters who are underrated and I’m finding it difficult to choose just one. For me, it is going to have to be Isabelle Richardson from Little Fires Everywhere. She has some wonderfully hidden qualities that could really blossom into something great with the right nuturing and I hate the fact that her own family don’t give her enough credit or allow her to be herself. 

Mabel – a book that’s bright and sunny
A joyful, uplifting read? I’m not entirely sure I know what those are. I have a tendency of going down the more dark and twisted bookish path so light-hearted, feel good reads aren’t really my thing. However, Sealed With A Kiss by Rachael Lucas fits this criteria perfectly AND it is such a gorgeous book. This book made me want to broaden my bookish horizons and it not only got me out of a MASSIVE reading slump but it also arrived at a time when I really needed something heart-warming and comforting. Set in Scotland, this book is perfect escapism.

Timmy and Tommy – a book featuring twins
Double Act. One of my absolute favourite childhood books which I read when I was about 6 or 7 years old. Ruby and Garnet are two very different twins and I loved that the fact they were a mirror image of each other did not reflect their personalities. 

KK Slider – a book featuring music

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Oh how I LOVE this book. If you’ve not read this yet, then where have you been hiding because it is phenomenal. The music that is included within this book is brilliant. Seriously, perfect mixtape material.

Dr Shrunk – a book featuring an eccentric character

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. I don’t think I need to say anymore than that really.

Crazy Red – a book with thieves

The Book Thief. Another one of my all time favourite books which is about a girl called Liesel who steals books and befriends a Jewish man. It is SO much more than that really. But, books are important for minds and friendships. Just saying.

Pocket camp – A book set in a camp

Ok, so I may be cheating slightly with this one by recommending The Dream Snatcher trilogy. BUT becoming a part of Moll’s tribe back in 2015 when she stormed her way onto the scene with a Wildcat in tow, I could NOT miss this out. Seriously, saying goodbye to Moll and her tribe was heartbreaking. I’m still not over it.

Gulliver – a book that takes you on an adventure

The Wolf Wilder takes you on a wolf-riding adventure. I mean seriously, do I need to sell this to you anymore? 

Kicks – a book that’s like a new pair of shoes – a book you really clicked with

I have clicked with SO MANY books. Seriously, some of the characters who I’ve journeyed with in their various worlds have really spoken to me and found a way into my heart. However, Under Rose Tainted Skies is the book which I resonated deeply with especially when trying to get a better understanding of my own Mental Health.

Porter – a book which transports you to a new world – a book with brilliant world building

Sky Song, without a doubt is a book which transports you to a whole new world. I was so engrossed in the world of Erkenwald, that reality just totally slipped away and left me to embark in some extreme wintry conditions in order to defeat the Ice Queen. 
I tag Rebecca @_rebeccastobart, Chelley @chelleytoy and Hannah @cupofwonderland


Aimee Louise

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I Swapped My Brother on the Internet Blog Tour- Jo Simmons on Funny Fiction 

Hello everybody!

Today, I have a guest post from Jo Simmons all about funny books as part of her blog tour for her own VERY funny book which I really enjoyed (and will be reviewing in my January Reviews!)

I’m not often sure what I think about anything. Age has not brought wisdom, just a sense of bafflement and a love of early bed times. But I do know what I think about funny fiction for kids – I think it’s a really, really good thing.

Not all kids are hardwired to read, but most kids are hardwired to laugh. They laugh so much more than adults – 300 to 400 times a day apparently, while grownups manage about 15 times. This makes children a willing audience for funny fiction. In fact, I’d argue that they positively deserve it!

I remember devouring Spike Milligan, Ogden Nash poems and PG Wodehouse as I went into my teenage years. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy dazzled with its cast of curious intergalactic characters and the hilarious fictional small ads in the copies of Viz my brother passed me were just brilliant. That and the Fat Slags, of course.

Once I had my own two boys, I was impressed by their ability to laugh their way through a day and unimpressed by the unutterably dull books I sometimes found myself reading to them at bedtime. So when I sat down to write my first children’s book in 2010, I wasn’t sure what to write, but I knew anything I did write had to be funny.

Funny fiction does so much more than simply entertain. Humour can tempt even a reluctant reader to try another chapter and every time an author makes a child laugh, it’s a little victory for reading. They’re communicating the message that reading funny books is fun, therefore reading must be fun. 

So it’s annoying that funny fiction sometimes gets overshadowed by those heavy books that tackle issues and win prizes, as if a witty story cannot also have meaning or relevance. Writing funny does not mean compromising on narrative ambition. A good funny story is still just that – a story – and can deliver all the truths and meaningful moments a serious tale does. 

My books contain plenty of bonkers scenarios and freaky folk, but also touch on issues relevant to children: friendship problems, anxiety about change, fear of the dark, loss of a loved one and, in my latest, I Swapped My Brother on the Internet the frustration of being inferior in age and privileges to an older brother. Serious stuff, for sure, but all wrapped up in a thick coating of silliness and escapism, ghosts, merboys and doppelgangers, and some seriously grotty pants. Maybe not great art, but hopefully great fun. 

You can follow Jo on Twitter @joanna_simmons and the book’s illustrator Nathan @nathanreed_illo.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite funny books? Did you love this one? I’d love to hear from you down in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx 

Guest Post: My Favourite MG Books by @aimee_louise_l

Hello everybody

Today, I have a brilliant guest post from my amazing friend Aimee, all about her favourite MG books! Enjoy!

Amy xxx

Thank you so much Amy for having me on your wonderful blog. I am so excited to be sharing my favourite MG books with your readers. I’ve had a fab time writing this. So without further ado, onto the books!!

The Dream Snatcher trilogy by Abi Elphinstone

Obviously this is on my list. I’d need my head examining if I was to miss out this feisty, bold spirited trilogy. With Old Magic, the wilderness and a wild spirited heroine, this MG trilogy stole my heart when it burst onto the bookish scene back in 2015.

Winter Magic curated by Abi Elphinstone

With 11 short stories celebrating the magic of Winter, these stories are perfect for sitting by a fire with a cup of hot chocolate. I absolutely love these stories and how they add that extra magic to some of the most wonderful aspects of Winter.

Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

Are you surprised? Really? If this didn’t make it onto my favourite MG books list then I’d have been shouting about this book for absolutely NO reason. Hope. Friendship. Courage. Loyalty. A sprinkling of love. This book really does have it all. I’ve never been on a more atmospheric adventure that literally has magic spilling out of it’s pages.

Eren by Simon Clark

A tale of a gargoyle that feeds on stories. Erm yes please. Seriously, feed me with ALL of the stories and I’d be happy too. Dark, eerie and filled with glorious story-telling, this MG book has the right dose of dark magic sprinkled amongst its pages.

The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan

Imagine a world without chocolate? Nope. Neither could I until I read this book. There’s some serious work to be done to save chocolate, and that is not because Chris is going to eat it all himself (though I’m sure he’d LOVE to).

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Oh how I love this book. Oh how I love to read. Matilda for me captures the very essence of why books are so important. Without books, we’d not be able to escape reality. Without books, we’d not be able to become more educated and knowledgable. Without books, we wouldn’t know the hidden stories and wonders of the world and universe.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts is my home. The Harry Potter books found their way into my heart at the age of 11 years old, Hogwarts letter recipient age to be precise, and have been with me ever since. These books have literally helped me to deal with so much in life and have always been the light in the darkest of times. I am so proud to be a part of the Harry Potter fandom and a Gryffindor at heart.

A Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Milwood-Hargrave

I truly fell in love with Kiran’s story about a cartographer’s daughter who goes on an adventure to save her best friend. Maps. Ink. Stars. That is all this girl needs. Extra bonus if you get to discover the hidden secrets at the heart of the island.

Boy X by Dan Smith

An adventure that follows a boy called Ash who wakes up on a remote tropical island after being kidnapped and drugged. WOW. Hard-hitting stuff right? Well…there’s more. Ash has to trek through the jungle in order to find his mum, who has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. IS THIS NOT ENOUGH FOR THE POOR LAD? Seriously though, a pretty action-packed adventure that tests Ash’s strength and stamina whilst the animals watch on as he crosses the jungle in a bid to save his mum.

The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me by Roald Dahl

Possibly one of the most underrated Roald Dahl books out there. I loved reading this as a child and I still love it now. Basically a small boy who dreams of owning a candy shop (watch out Willy Wonka, I think you’ve got competition on your hands) meets a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. What’s so special about that I hear you ask. Well, the giraffe, pelican and money are window cleaners. So if you think that the people who clean your windows do a terrible job, then maybe you should consider these guys. They not half do a decent job. Just saying.

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes

You have not lived, if you haven’t read these absolute delightful and revolting poems which put a twist on the fairy tales that you know so well. So if you wanna find out why you shouldn’t mess with Red Riding Hood and how your other favourite fairytale characters are getting on, then seriously please give these a read.

I have so many more MG books which I love, but I’d be here all day if I was to continue talking about them all. So if you’d like to recommend some MG books that I should look out for then please do tell me, even if my TBR won’t forgive me,

Aimee Louise

Guest Post: Noah’s Christmas Message by Simon James Green 

Hello everybody! It’s the 23rd of December, can you believe it? I’m so sad that blogmas is almost over, but today I have a fabulous festive treat to share! Noah, from Noah Can’t Even, has written a Christmas Message, which his lovely author Simon James Green has sent along. Over to Noah! 

The Queen’s Noah’s Christmas Message

Hello everyone, and many festive greetings to you all! As I write this, I am eating a warmed mince pie, a cracker sitting temptingly on my desk, as a lone choirboy sings ‘Silent Night’ outside in the snow. Lol, joking! It’s actually November and we’ve got a supply teacher in History and no work has been set, so we’re allowed to do what we want once we’ve completed his word search handout. You’ll be pleased to know I found all fifteen words in under eight minutes – pretty good going when you consider they can be going any direction, backwards or forwards! Anyway, Mr. Baxter set us a task to write a ‘Christmas Message’ in an attempt to use interesting teaching methods to help us ‘analyse our progress’ (ooh, has someone got an OFTSED inspection coming up?) so here is my work:

As well as being a time for candles, turkey and nuts, Christmas is a time for reflection – and I have been doing a lot of that, let me tell you. I’ve been doing so much reflecting, I’m practically a mirror. And what do I see? Well, I see a year that’s been pretty damn awful. Most of my years end up being pretty bad, but 2017 was especially catastrophic for me since Knobface Simon James Green decided to write his book about me and Scholastic, who I assume are some sort of trendy London company full of people who eat avocados, published it. Now everyone knows everything about me, including my most private thoughts and musings and it’s awful. With the devastating news that the book was optioned for a TV show, and a sequel is coming out next year, I have been actively looking at options for living on Mars, as I believe they are looking for volunteers to form a colony there and start a new society. I have sent in my application for this and expect a positive response, as I feel I have many desirable qualities that the new society would need, e.g. I have Scout badges for knots, first aid, fire safety, hillwalking, naturalist and model maker, amongst many others. BTW, the ‘naturalist’ badge is about nature, and shouldn’t be confused with a ‘naturist’ badge, which is someone who likes to go around with no clothes on. There isn’t a Scout badge for naturism, as far as I know. 

Anyhoo, it’s important not to focus on negative things, so I have also been thinking about GOOD things about this year that I am grateful for:

Am Student Librarian 

Harry 

Sophie is in Milton Keynes but I have an invitation to visit at any time (with a minimum forty-eight hour notice, she says). 

Gran is pretty cool at the moment and we are re-watching all the Joan Hickon Miss Marple episodes together.

Most of the stuff they said would happen in our Year 7 puberty talk has now happened, I think, although not everything, but I guess there’s still time and things happen at different times for different people so it’s not even an issue so shut up. 

OK, so what about 2018? What are my hopes and dreams? Other than a nuclear accident vaporizing my mother, or an admin error delivering several tons of Skittles to my door, my main hope is that people STOP BEING DICKS and we can all just get on and sort out some of the really important stuff, like the fact we’re all going to be incinerated because of global warming, or die in the antibiotic apocalypse, or a billion other awful things. But all that’s for later – for now we must focus on nice things because it’s Christmas. We must think of Father Christmas and his sack of toys, and singing traditional carols like ‘Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart’ by popular music band, ‘The Wham!’ Funny story: I knew a woman called Carol and the thing was, she didn’t like carols. That’s pretty awkward, right?!

I hope you have a happy 2018 and I’d like to wish you much festive cheer and thank you for listening to my assorted musings. A very merry Christmas – and a happy Noah year! Ha! (Is that funny? I think that’s funny). 

Noah Grimes x

A comment from Mr Baxter: 

B+ (This would have been an A, Noah, but I had to cross out several inappropriate words. You shouldn’t refer to SJG as ‘Knobface’ in a piece of formal writing, so suggest you take this bit out. Also, for your information, I don’t have an OFTSED inspection coming up and don’t appreciate your sarcastic tone. Please see me. Mr. Baxter). 

Thank you so much for reading! Are you a fan of Noah Can’t Even? What have been your best moments this year? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl, and I’ll see you tomorrow for the last day of blogmas,

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 

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.

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