Welcome to my young adult portion of reviews for the month of January. If you want to read the MG post, you can find it here. Onto the books!
Welcome to my young adult portion of reviews for the month of January. If you want to read the MG post, you can find it here. Onto the books!
As it’s Valentine’s Day this month, I’ve themed a few posts in my schedule around love, and today I’m going to be talking about my favourite couples in books. Onto the post!
Harriet and Nick from the Geek Girl series – otherwise known as Lion Boy and Freckles, these guys are my top of top couples. They have so many romantic moments, and even through their ups and downs it’s so clear they’re perfect for each other. I think my favourite moments of their relationship are when they meet under a table, just after the chat show scene and basically all their scenes in Model Misfit.
Summer and Alfie from the Chocolate Box Girls series– of all of Cathy Cassidy’s lovely romances, Summer and Alfie’s is my favourite (I also love Kian and Scarlett, and Skye and Finch). It’s not the focus of Summer’s Dream, but the way Alfie supports Summer in that book through her eating disorder and with the subsequent loss of her ‘dream’ is incredible in my opinion. I only wish we saw more of them in the rest of the series!
Simon and ‘Blue’ from Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – I love Simon as a book, and I think I’ve decided I’ll give the film a go next month. I adore their online romance, and in jokes, and they’re such a sweet couple when they eventually meet in real life. Another thing that’s really fun is not knowing who Blue is and trying to guess, and it’s super cool to see all the clues I completely missed my first time reading as I was so caught up in the loveliness of it all.
Hannah and Sam from Lobsters– I really like Sam and Hannah’s will they-won’t they relationship throughout this book. It’s funny, awkward and reads like the best sort of romcom. I think my favourite moments between them is when they meet for the first time in the bathroom at the end of A Levels party!
Issie and Aidan from the Pony Club Secrets series– Issie and Aidan are probably the first couple I ever shipped (Pony Club Secrets is one of the first series I read, and on every reread it’s held up), and I cannot tell you how much I rooted for them. I love their flirtation during Destiny and the Wild Horses and the moment when they FINALLY get together, and just them as a couple in general until they break up later in the series. I seriously want to reread these books this year.
Thank you so much for reading! Who are your favourite book couples? Do you agree with any of mine? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
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
Today I’m taking part in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Like last week, I couldn’t come up with 10, so have decided to go for 5 Books I struggle to remember. This is in no way a reflection of the quality of the books- just that I read them YEARS ago. Onto the books!
Trouble by Non Pratt– I remember a few things about this book (two parts of the plot), the names of the two lead characters and one side one, and that’s about it. In my defense, I think I was a bit young to fully grasp it at 12/13 and I think I’d probably remember much more if I read it agiam (now just to track down a copy…)
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher– I loved this book. I thought the narrative style was so, so clever and I’ve never read anything like it. But I’m so fuzzy with the events of this book. I remember the set up, and the fact the main character’s called Zoe. I’d really like to reread it to see how I feel about it now!
Where Monsters Lie by Polly Ho-Yen– if you know my love for Boy in the Tower/Fly Me Home, you’ll be surprised by this. But I really did not like this, and I was so upset I think I’ve just blocked it from my memory. I know it’s about slugs, I recall the name of the main character and the fsct I detested it, other than that, not a squeak.
Wonder by R.J Palacio– I enjoyed this, even though it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. I genuinely don’t remember a single event in this now.
The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton– I think these are my least favourite Blyton books. They’re massively overrated, if you ask me (JUSTICE FOR THE FIVE FIND OUTERS, THEY ARE THE BEST AND NO ONE KNOWS WHO THEY ARE!) And I only really remember the name of the dog, and something about secret passwords to enter their clubhouse?
Thank you so much for reading! Are you a little foggy on the events of some books? Do we share any? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
There are no rules. It’s YOUR blog. But it would be nice if you linked back to Never Not Reading (tag creator), and maybe the person who tagged you too. Share the love folks.
Feel free to use the GIFs used by Never Not Reading, the graphics made by Flavia the Bibliophile if you would like, both, or make and use your own visuals!
1. THE SANDERSON SISTERS- A GREAT TRILOGY
My favourite completed trilogy is Spellchasers by Lari Don, which are MG shapeshifter fantasies set in Scotland, with a really fabulous group of main characters, a unique idea executed well and an arc over the 3 books but also an individual plot for each instalment.
2. WINIFRED SANDERSON- A BOOK WITH A TRULY AWFUL FEMALE VILLAIN
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has two awful female villains in very prominent roles; Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange, who are equally evil in a polar opposite way.
3. SARAH SANDERSON- A BOOK THAT UNCANNILY ATTRACTS CHILDREN
I’m really unsure of this question. The Gruffalo seems to be evergreen, as the young children I know absolutely adore it, and I enjoyed it years ago.
4. MARY SANDERSON- A BOOK THAT IS JUST PLAIN SILLY
I again struggled with this one. Most funny books I read have some sort of more serious topic in them as well, for example bullying in Geek Girl or Alzheimer’s/dementia in Who Let the Gods Out. I think I’ll say Lobsters for this!
5. MAX-A BOOK THAT IS TRYING REALLY HARD TO BE COOL BUT DOESN’T ALWAYS SUCCEED
I’m not going to say any specific book here, as a few do it, but since I started blogging books where blogs just blow up in stats overnight. The only time I found it realistic was in one of my favourite books of last year Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter, where Rosalind is blogging about her school and names it, so it does make sense people from the school would fins and read it.
6. DANI- A BOOK THAT ISN’T AFRAID TO TELL IT HOW IT IS
I think Holly Bourne’s writing style is very open and honest; I always feel like I really do know all of her prontagonists after I finish.
7. BINX-A BOOK SERIES THAT JUST WON’T DIE
I love series, the longer the better! The longest one I can think of is the Babysitters Club by Ann m Martin which must have at least 300 or so counting all the offshoots by my maths. (Which I’m terrible at, so don’t judge me if I’m totally wrong please 😂)
8. ICE- A BOOK WITH A CHARACTER AS DUMB AS A ROCK
Pass! I honestly think of a character I’d describe like that. A character’s intelligence doesn’t really play a part in how I feel about them, and all the baddies I dislike enough to be so horribleabout are usually evil geniuses.
9. THE BLACK FLAME/CANDLE- A SERIES YOU WISH YOU COULD RESURRECT
Either Geek Girl or Adventure Island I think.
10. HEADLESS BILLY BUTCHERSON- A BOOK THAT ISN’T AS BAD AS IT’S MADE OUT TO BE
WHY ARE ALL THE QUESTIONS SO HARD? 😭. I can’t recall any books I especially adore having any sort of mass criticism, if I’m honest.
11. WINIFRED SANDERSON’S SPELL BOOK- A BOOK WITH A MIND OF IT’S OWN
I’m presuming this to mean a unique book, and for this I’m going to say the Beetle Boy books by M.G Leonard. The concept (boy finds Beetle, befriends it, has amazing adventure and saves his father with new beetle and human friends) sounds a bit bizarre on paper, but I love them a lot.
12. GARRY MARSHALL- A BOOK WITH A CAMEO
Jake, one of my favourites from the Chocolate Box Girls series, makes an appearance in Cathy Cassidy’s latest book Love from Lexie, and I’m almost certain he’ll be popping up throughout the series.
Do you love Hocus Pocus? Who’s your favourite character? Have you read any of the books I’ve chosen?
Today I`m going to be sharing my reviews for November and December. I haven`t read as much as I`d have liked over both, but I have been rereading for most of December so it`s not too bad. Onto the books!
The Fabled Beast Chronicles series by Lari Don
While I initially found this series harder to get into than the Spellchasers trilogy, by just the 2nd book I was absolutely immersed in the story of Helen, a talented fiddler, as her life becomes entwined with the fabled beasts when a centaur turns up at her house and asks her to heal him and their subsequent thrilling adventures. I thought Helen was an amazing heroine; strong, capable and independent, and I loved getting to know the fabled beasts. My particular favourites were Sapphire the dragon and Yann the centaur, but I also enjoyed getting to see more in depth how most of the species lived and their customs through excellent worldbuilding over the course of the quartet. I really hope Lari Don has another middle grade fantasy series of some sort coming soon, as she`s a master of them. 4.5/5
A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan
In her debut novel, Helena Duggan tells the story of Violet as she moves to the unusually perfect town Perfect, and her journey of realising that all is not as it seems. There is a sense of sinister foreboding from the off, and the tension increases gradually until I was absolutely glued to the book towards the end. Alongside the mystery plot of working out what`s gone wrong with the town and who`s behind it, I liked the friendship between Violet and Boy a lot, and them as individuals, and the secondary characters (good and evil alike) jumped off the page. On that note, the worldbuilding was so well done that I felt as if I were actually in Perfect with the characters, and the multi layered backstory was fabulous. I`m not sure where this will go in the sequel, but I`ll definitely be reading to find out. 4.5/5
The Polar Bear Explorers` Club by Alex Bell (illustrated by Tomislav Tomic)
Alex`s first foray into the middle grade genre is, in my eyes, is an example of MG at its very finest. It tells the tale of Stella Starflake Pearl, who longs to be an explorer, as she sets off with her adopted father Felix on her first expedition and ends up separated from the main group along with the three other children of the voyage. I absolutely adored the group dynamics, and each character. Beanie was particularly delightful (he is quite possibly one of my new favourites of all time) but I also liked wolf whisperer Shay (I want to whisper with animals, please), Stella was an excellent leader, and it was so interesting to see how initially hostile Edward developed over the course of their journey. I also fell in love with the different animals and magical creatures the group encounter over the book (except, of course, the baddies) and loved how the book moved from one magical incident to another fluidly and always furthered either the relationships or plot. In case it`s not clear, I was completely obsessed with this book from beginning to end, and I have my fingers very tightly crossed for a sequel (or ten). 5/5
Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn
While I had expected to adore this book, it didn`t quite live up to my expectations. The writing style wasn`t especially to my taste, and I struggled to get to grips with the overcomplicated mystery plot, which never felt entirely linked to me. However, there were also parts of the book I enjoyed more. I liked the main trio, especially main character Lottie herself, and the friendships they strike up, as well as the unique and interesting system of monarchy, and getting to see both the dangerous and glamourous aspects of this. I also liked the ending, which was genuinely surprising and will probably lead me to pick up the second in the series at some stage after it`s released. 3.5/5
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
I went into this book with no idea of what it was going to be like, except knowing that it focused on Cameron Post as she grew up in a rural area in the 80s and explored her sexuality as a lesbian. I really liked Cameron as a character as I thought she was resilient, sometimes funny in her narration and strong, while also being flawed, and I also liked some of the secondary characters, especially those she meets during the 2nd half of the book after her aunt takes the drastic action alluded to in the blurb. Another thing I found interesting about the book, although it was a minor inclusion, was that Cameron`s aunt has neurofibromatosis (the condition I`m believed to have, albeit not the type it`s suspected I personally have and she experiences it very differently), which I was quite emotional to see represented in a book for the first time. However, there were also several aspects of the book I really struggled with. I found the first half of the book, which is rather long at almost 500 pages, incredibly slow to the point where I was close to DNFing, and I found the prose too “purple”. Overall, this was a book I learnt quite a lot from, but it wasn`t my cup of tea. 3/5
The Ghost Light by Sarah Rubin
I see very little buzz around the Alice Jones mysteries online, but I`ve thoroughly enjoyed both instalments so far. This book tells the story of Alice, who lives in Philadelphia, as she becomes in another mystery, this time involving sabotage and scary accidents at a local theatre. I love what a clever, independent heroine Alice is, and the colourful characters who surround her from her lovely journalist dad to arrogant film stars starring in the seemingly cursed, haunted play. I also thought the conclusion to the mystery was interesting as I only partially guessed the culprit, and there were several surprises. I did, however miss the presence of Sammy from the Impossible Clue, and thought the book felt quite different in tone too, but overall I think these are definetely underrated and I’d like a few more in the series. 4/5
The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters
After having this recommended to me, I decided to pick it up and give it a go. I found it initially quite hard to get into and connect with narrator Hannah, but I soon did and was swept up in this contemporary middle grade tale of a girl trying to save her family`s farm from being sold when the landlord bumps up the rent, while also putting on a play. It has the same whimsical, modern classic feel that Natasha Farrant captured in the Bluebell Gadsby series, and it features a large group of siblings. I loved that things weren`t perfect between the family in the slightest but they were still always there for each other and the gentle humour sprinkled throughout the book. I worried desperately about the characters till the end as there were so many twists when I thought they were nearing a happy ending, though I did love the one they eventually got. 4.5/5
Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer
After seeing an excerpt from this book, I knew I wanted to read it, but the reality was very different to what I`d imagined. I didn`t find the book anywhere near as funny as I`d hoped, though I did find the plot of Morgan`s treatment for the hole in her torso interesting. I also liked the romance between her and Holden, as despite it being an odd addition after their initial reaction to one another they shared some lovely moments. Another element of the plot I enjoyed was the way the media treats Morgan, and finally the dysfunctional relationship between Morgan and her mother. I was less keen on the aspects previously mentioned, Morgan`s narrative style and the rather abrupt ending. 3.5/5
Rocking Horse War by Lari Don
After loving both the Spellchasers trilogy and the Fabled Beast Chronicles, I had high expectations for Rocking Horse War and it delivered. While I initially struggled to get into it, and I hadn`t realised for some reason it was set historically, I was very intrigued by Pearl`s story of waking up one morning and discovering her troublesome triplet siblings gone. She becomes tangled up in mysterious magic, and must battle to take the triplets home. I liked Pearl a lot; she was so determined and focused, and never gave up. Another thing I thought was great was that we got to see the impact of the first world war on a family, which isn`t especially common but I find fascinating. Finally, as always, Lari Don`s worldbuilding and magic system was exceptionally well done, particularly as we are learning more about it along with Pearl gradually so it never feels like an infodump despite the small page count. 4.5/5
The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge
This was a lovely read, and I`m so glad I finally picked it up. It tells the story of Albie, whose mum has just died, and his experiment with quantum physics to try and find a universe she`s still in. It was a slice of life style format where we see a few hours in the lives of Albie`s counterparts (my personal favourite of which was Alba) and I found it such an original, clever idea. I also thought that Albie was a really sweet character, and unusually for me I actually grasped most of the science and never found it to overwhelm Albie`s journey. I definitely want to read more from Christopher Edge in 2018. 4.5/5
Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)
Vashti Hardy`s debut is so incredibly special, and I can`t wait for everyone to be able to read it. It`s about twins Arthur and Maudie as they set off on a skyship adventure and attempt to clear their dad`s name of stealing fuel from another ship on his last expedition. I absolutely loved the twins, and their relationship with one another, and I thought the secondary characters added to the story marvellously. The thought wolves, especially gentle, noble Tuyok were simply incredible, and more than one part of this book left me breathless and in tears because I fell so hard for this world and these characters. Another addition I liked hugely was that it championed STEM, and I was impressed with it tackling disability, a real rarity in fantasy worlds, with Arthur only having one arm. I guessed a twist or two but I still had quite a few surprises, and after the conclusion I`m already desperate for the sequel. 5/5
The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher (illustrated by Shane Devries)
I`ll admit I was pretty sceptical going into this, seeing it`s by a celebrity author, but the overwhelming praise in the bookish community and shiny, pretty gold cover convinced me to pick it up, and I`m really glad I did. It`s the story of William Trundle as he faces ableist bullying at school until he receives a magical (and unintentional) Christmas gift from Santa that changes his life. I really liked William as a character, and the way his disability is portrayed, and I also had fun getting to know the multi layered secondary characters. Shane Devries` illustrations were a fantastic addition, and the book zips along at a great pace. My absolute favourite bit of this book, though, was the superb worldbuilding of the North Pole, which made this a truly magical read and I think children would adore it. 4.5/5
Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review
Having been excited for this book since the day it was announced, I was absolutely thrilled when it came through my door. I was gripped by the story of Magpie, a young orphan/pickpocket living in France as she becomes unexpectedly involved in a bid to become the first country to fly a hot air balloon. Emma Carroll`s writing is as beautiful and lyrical as ever, and never falls down the trap of going too far with this in favour of advancing the plot. I also adored Magpie as a character as she was so brave, clever and really deserving of the happiness she finds by the end, as well as her friend Pierre and the incredibly sweet animals; Coco, Voltaire and Lancelot. I got through this in two sittings despite having very little time to read at the time, as I couldn`t wait to see what would happen next. I`m so excited for Emma`s next book already! 5/5
Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
Happy New Year everybody!
To kick off 2018, I thought it would be fun to do the Ringing in the New Year Book Tag, which I found on Tiny Obsessions
Onto the post!
BEST BOOK/SERIES THAT YOU’VE READ IN 2017.
I think my overall favourite was Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth, which is a contemporary adventure set in the Himalayas which I shout about constantly.
AUTHORS THAT YOU’VE RECENTLY FOUND AND WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE OF IN THE NEW YEAR
I will be tracking down more of Lari Don’s books. Can’t think of anyone else!
MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK TURNED MOVIE?
Love, Simon (even though I still don’t like that title at all! I shall be calling it Simon Vs forevermore)
NAME A CHARACTER THAT YOU WOULDN’T MIND SHARING A KISS WITH AT MIDNIGHT (IF THERE IS ONE)
Nick from Geek Girl. 💜 him. Or maybe Sirius from Harry Potter.
WHAT’S ON YOUR TBR FOR 2017? (TOP 5 WILL SUFFICE IF IT’S AN EXTREMELY LONG LIST!)
Mine has over 100 Books on it. I really want to get to the Northern Lights trilogy especially, and all the review books I have, and classics, and… I could go on forever (and ever and ever)
HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU HOPE TO READ IN 2017?
Around 100, though I don’t plan to count them!
WILL YOU PARTICIPATE IN THE GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE (OR ANY OTHERS)?
Nope! I don’t really like putting pressure on myself to read a certain number of books by x time any more. It just made me feel awful about how much slower I’ve become since I was younger And had much more time)
Thank you so much for reading! Do we share any answers? What would you have said for some of these? I’d love to to hear from you down in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!