Top 5: Children’s Books

Although it’s a little late, I really liked the idea of sharing our favourite children’s books, based on last Wednesday’s (12th) Top 5 topic! I like to think of all of these books as the books that have made me the reader I am today, the books that have shaped my reading taste and drawn me towards young adult series that became my new favourite books.

(Backstory: Bee and I have always been readers, for sure, but it was never a huge priority in our lives until we were in secondary school. We spent most of our childhood playing role-play games with our dolls and watching Winx Club)

Fairy Dreams by Gwyneth Rees 

Because we loved animated fairies so much, it only made sense to seek them out in book form. When we were younger, I always wore my hair in bunches, so we thought that the two fairies on the cover looked like us! The story is about a girl who finds the fairies and when she goes to sleep, gets transported to the magical world! There was also something called The Book of Fairy Fun with every Gwyneth Rees character, full of word games and puzzles. When Bee and I shared a room, and when we were meant to be asleep, we’d allow ourselves to complete a couple puzzles a night, crouching up to our windowsill to get light from the streetlamp outside.

Anything by Jacqueline Wilson 

She was as big in the early 2000s as she is now. I have such fond memories of finding a Candyfloss hardback for 50p at a car boot sale with our grandparents, and reading Bad Girls for a reading level assessment. Of course, we lapped up Double Act and I always had a soft spot for Midnight (again, fairies. It’s a phase I hope to never grow out of!)

Anything by Cathy Cassidy

For our tenth birthday, I got Sundae Girl and Dizzy and Bee got Driftwood and Scarlet, and to this day, they will always be our favourite books by Cathy! Since then, we’ve been to three signings, one of which we won tickets to in a Mizz magazine contest. It was for the launch of Angel Cake and we got these glorious goodie bags and the chance to interview Cathy in a small group. It was one of the best days ever.

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald

I don’t remember how we got hold of these books, but they were fantastic. So great, in fact, that Bee and I are currently re-reading them just for fun! They’re about Judy, who really wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and each book is about her taking on these wild ideas like trying to get famous, or pretending to have ESP and running with them. Essentially a female Phineas and Ferb before the show existed.

Rose by Holly Webb 

Rose was Bee’s special thing. It was a four book series about this little orphan girl who discovered she had magical powers before she went to work for a renowned magician. She gets trained, along with the magician’s apprentice and helps to solve magical crimes like kidnappings and blood lettings. It was a bit more…grizzly than I was expecting when I first read it on a train back from London. I can remember, instead, choosing to focus on the scene where she goes to the candy store, and the big cat, Gus.

These are all the books that stick out in my mind as the ones we loved the best, and also the ones we’ve chosen to keep hold of, just in case we want to take a trip down memory lane.

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Series To Read Before 2018!

What time is it? TBR Shame Time! Around the middle of the year, it’s always a good plan to re-evaluate what’s on your TBR and what your priorities are before 2018 rolls around, because it’s going to come sooner rather than later if January to June is anything to go by. I swear we were making our reading resolutions a week ago…

Tiny Pretty Things by Donielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

This is only a duet, so really I have no excuse for not starting it because it’s not a lifetime dedication like Cassandra Clare series. But, it’s TOP of my list because I’m desperate to read about ballerinas at a boarding school. Ever since Bee and I got hooked on Dance Academy at the beginning of the year, ballet has been my favourite topic and this will be fabulous, I know it.  Continue reading “Series To Read Before 2018!”

Favourite Fictional Father Figures!

Richard Manners in Geek Girl

It just so happens that any one of these favourites posts can be used to promote the Geek Girl series. Funny, that. Richard is a fantastic dad. He may not always make the right decisions, or completely understand his daughter, but he’s there to support her (by taking free trips to Russia!) and generally be a maverick of the household. We absolutely love that Holly Smale wrote a family that inverts the tradition of the mother to be the one to stay at home and the dad to do the work. It’s so positive to see.

Hagrid in Harry Potter and Whatever He’s Up To

Every one who’s ever compiled a list like this is guaranteed to have any male character bar the Malfoys and Voldemort from Harry Potter. Out of every other contender for best father figure, I’ve chosen Hagrid because he’s the only one, in my opinion, who loves Harry because he wants to. Lupin and Sirius love him because he’s a miniature James, and brings back a piece of their shared past. Dumbledore cares for him because he turns out to be a selfish pusher of his own agenda. Hagrid loves him, full stop. Yes, he may put Harry in the radius of dangerous magical creatures, but whatever.

Dad Edwards in Second Chance Summer

I may not know his name, but he’s crucial to the story, and still manages to give Taylor some beautiful life lessons with the time he has left. This was a difficult father-daugther relationship to read about because illness gets in the way, and neither of them want to admit that their time is limited, but I think this story really proves how much loved ones matter to a person, and that no matter how much time you have with someone, it’s always worth being together. Excuse me while I go sob now.

Mr Bennett in Pride and Prejudice

A man that loves his daughters and irritating his wife. Although P&P definitely isn’t a comedy, Mr Bennett provided the light hearted jokes just when you needed them, and didn’t really care about what society thought of his family, as long as they were happy. I also really appreciated how he didn’t shame Lydia for what happened to her, whereas Mrs Bennett was distraught for days. No wonder everyone likes their father best!

Dad Marx in The Museum of Heartbreak

He just loved dinosaurs and wanted to share that love with the world, even in inappropriate scenarios. Dinner party conversation? Dinosaurs. Break up conversation? Dinosaurs. Definitely one of the stand out characters of a rather wishy-washy read.

My Top 5 Historical Couples by Sophia Bennett, author of Following Ophelia

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Hey everyone! Something very exciting for today’s post – Sophia Bennett joins us for the penultimate stop on the Following Ophelia blog tour to talk about her favourite historical couples. Romance was one of the strongest elements of the book, so we can’t wait to hear what inspired Sophia for Ophelia’s love story.

(Check out the banner on our blog to find out where Sophia’s stopping next!)


Thanks for having me, Bee and Maddie, and thank you for your review of Following Ophelia. I loved it!

It wasn’t until my seventh book, Love Song, that I wrote a proper romance. I’m interested in girls who make things or do things and they never (not even in the romance) rely on a lover to sort their lives out. But there is something wonderful about love.

I’m lucky that I ended up with my soulmate – someone I trust absolutely, and who makes me laugh every day. He also put up a light for me yesterday, but knows that I could perfectly well have put it up myself, if I didn’t happen to be gardening. He is awesome. It took a while to meet him though. We didn’t marry until I was thirty-nine.

Before that, I experienced all the ups and downs of love. I want my readers to feel the heady thrill of lust, the joy of feeling a connection – but I don’t want them to think that automatically means ‘happy ever after’. It’s usually just the start of a roller-coaster, so I wanted Mary’s experience in Following Ophelia to follow mine a little bit. She’s only just started on the journey of love. I have more to write, and she has further to travel.

It’s been fun setting her story in the 1850s, with all the complications of class, money and sex the Victorians experienced. Here are some of my favourite couples from history and legend, whom I got to know while researching various books. It’s not always easy being in love.

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  1. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – from Following Ophelia. I’ve always loved the strong connection between Victoria and Albert. Albert is underrated, I think. He was highly intelligent, curious, and passionately supported the arts. We have his energy and support to thank for the V&A Museum, for example.

    Victoria became boring and distant after he died, but she was quite different while he was alive. (Check out Daisy Goodwin’s fantastic TV series about them if you haven’t already seen it.) If only he’d lasted longer than 1861 …

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  2. Persephone and Demeter – from Following Ophelia. I had to research this Greek legend for the book, as Mary takes on the name and inspiration of Persephone. She was a daughter of Zeus and Demeter, stolen by Hades and taken to the Underworld.

    Demeter, the goddess of the Harvest, desperately searched the world for her missing daughter. Eventually, she found her and begged for her return. But there was a catch, involving 7 pomegranate seeds … It’s a tragic story, driven by a mother’s love. I won’t spoil it if you don’t know it, but there’s nothing like a Greek legend for drama. And isn’t this statue of mother and daughter unusual and beautiful?

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  3. David Bowie and Iman – from Love Song. It can’t be denied: they look incredible together. This could have gone so wrong, the pop star and the supermodel, but as she said, she married David Jones, not David Bowie.

    They kept their relationship fairly quiet – no big Hello spreads – but I never saw them look anything less than deeply in love. He always seems so utterly entranced by her company.

    It might seem odd to have them as a historical couple, but when David died last year it felt as though a special period of history had come to an end. RIP David. We still miss you.

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  4. Sah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal – from Beads. He loved her so much he built the Taj Mahal as her monument. That says it all, really.

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  5. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé – from Threads. Researching fashion designers as I did for the Threads series, I became fascinated that so many of them – almost all, in fact – had a brilliant business manager by their side, who was often their lover too.

    It takes a combination of creative flair, passion and cold business sense to make a fashion house work, and very few individuals have that in one package. Yves needed Pierre, and Pierre needed him. They were so lucky to find each other. If you’re a creative person, it really helps to fall in love with someone who appreciates and supports what you do!


After getting all flustered by how adorable all these couples are, you’re probably dying to read Following Ophelia, right? Check out our reviewFollowing Ophelia‘s Goodreads and find Sophia Bennett on Twitter!

Top Series I Can’t Wait To Complete!

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) by Marissa Meyer

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness. Does this even need explanation? The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series, and I love any opportunity to read a fairy tale retelling. I can’t wait to see how everyone’s stories end, and hopefully, I’ll have another OTP to add to my list by the final page of this book! (Also, that cover though. The apple looks magnificent.)

Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

Both Bee and I have always been huge Holly Smale fans from the very beginning. ‘Geek Girl’ spoke to me in a way no other book had. I can’t believe that a few years later, Harriet’s had five different adventures, and is possibly about to have her last? I hope this series goes on forever, literally. ‘Head Over Heels’ is going to be such a treat.

Queen Of Shadows (Throne Of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

After not being that impressed by ‘Heir of Fire’, I can’t say this book is at the top of the list. BUT, I’m still interested enough in the series to read on. Well, that was before Bee read it and I think it’s fair to say that hate isn’t a strong word when it comes to her review. Maybe I’ll delay reading this one for a bit in that case…

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The Raven King (The Raven Cycle Quartet #4) by Maggie Steifvater

The series finale! Ahhh! I’ve had mixed feelings about this series. I thought it was progressing too slowly and not enough was happening, but really, all the other books were building up to this moment. Gainsey’s fate was sealed from the very first book…I just hope Maggie Steifvater has some tricks up her sleeve so she doesn’t break too many hearts!

The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkowski

This has been one of the most intriguing and successful trilogies I’ve read. I’m not really a huge fan of high fantasy, and this gave me a beautiful taster into the genre. Hopefully, Kestrel will discover her heart in the final book and all will be OK. I think ‘The Winner’s Kiss’ is a very promising title indeed!

Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold (Broken Hearts & Revenge #2) by Katie Finn

Bee loves Morgan Matson, not matter what name she’s writing under. Although this series isn’t her favourite of Katie Finn’s books, she’s still going to read the heck out of it. (and let’s be honest, nothing can beat her beloved ‘Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour’!)