Sunday, 8 January 2012


Hello, good afternoon and welcome to 2012!

I thought that I would start this year by revisiting last year. This is partly because change or anything new makes me nervous and partly because last year was flippin' great.

(And partly because I have started the year with a bit of a dodgy haircut and I want to look back to better, slightly more attractive days.)

I was more thrilled than a thrilled person that people actually voted in my survey. I thought I was going to have to force relatives to do it (which would involve explaining that when I tell them 'I'm spending a lot of time writing' I actually mean 'I am spending a lots of time photoshopping kittens' heads onto people's bodies'.)

Anyhoo, without further ado to do, here are the results of the 

Books, Bonnets and Full-Frontal Blogging Awards 2011

(Every winner receives an imaginary golden bonnet, which they have to wear for the entire year)

We'll start with a BIG ONE. 

*READ OF 2011*


VIII by H.M. Castor 
Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick 
Swim the Fly by Don Calame 
The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi 
The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner
Kill All Enemies by Melvin Burgess
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness 
Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Wreckers by Julie Hearn 
Ice Maiden by Sally Prue 
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher 
A Tangle of Magicks by Stephanie Burgis 
Clash by Colin Mulhern 
Dark Ride by Caroline Green 
Envy by Gregg Olsen
Hidden by Miriam Halahmy

And the winner is...

Clash by Colin Mulhern

Clash is the story of two very different boys - quiet and ordinary Kyle, whose talent is art, and Alex, the school psycho, whose talent is cage-fighting. A chain of events sets their lives on a collision course with terrifying consequences. This is a gripping and brutal book that takes you inside the two boys' minds - and you may be surprised at what you see.  
Find out more here.

Best leading lady


Billie from Kill All Enemies by Melvin Burgess 

Kat from A Tangle of Magicks by Stephanie Burgis 
Alix from Hidden by Miriam Halahmy 
Solveig from Bracelet of Bones by Kevin Crossley-Holland 
Hayley and Taylor (joint) from Envy by Gregg Olsen
(and mentioned in the 'other' category: Frankie from Life, An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet)

And the winner is...

Alix from Hidden by Miriam Halahmy 
Alix is an ordinary fourteen-year-old girl living on quiet Hayling Island. Then something quite extraordinary happens - she and her friend Samir rescue a man from drowning and the man turns out to be an asylum seeker. In a life-changing moment, they decide to help him. Miriam Halahmy said she decided to make her heroine fourteen because it's an age than often gets overlooked and she wanted her characters to prove that 'if you’re fourteen and you are strong, there is no telling what you would be able to do in a crisis'. Alix certainly proves this with her courageous behaviour in challenging both other people's and her own view of asylum seekers. Oh and she's funny, sarcastic and easy to relate to as well.
Find out more here

Best leading man


Henry from VIII by H.M. Castor
Ezra from The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner
Bob (or, God) from There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff
Jamie from My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Frankie from The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi

And the winner is...

Henry from VIII by H.M. Castor
Now surely I don't need to introduce this guy. He's that fat one in the silly hat that liked chopping his wives' heads off, isn't he? Well, if you've read VIII you might see him a bit differently. This book takes you through the whole of Henry's life, through his eyes. We see him when he was young, handsome and charming (and rather yummy) and then how power and his demons begin to mould him into a man capable of cruel and tyrannical acts. If you didn't meet Henry last year, make a date with him in 2012. 
Here is my date with Henry, and find out here why he's a bit like Elvis

Best couple


Eric & Merle, in all their incarnations, from Midwinterblood by Marcus Segdwick 

Bel & Luka from Dark Ride by Caroline Green 
Ezra & Amaryllis from The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner 
Will Grayson & Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan 
Franz & Edrin from The Ice Maiden by Sally Prue 
Cassel & Lila from White Cat by Holly Black

And the winner is...

Bel & Luka from Dark Ride by Caroline Green
From the moment a mysterious boy leads her to a disused fairground, Bel wants to know more about him. But it becomes clear that Bel and Luka's unusual, and very touching, relationship will lead to trouble. Why's is unusual? Ah, you'll have to read it to find out! I think this comment from a teen reader (read out at the book's launch) sums it up: 
'I did not want it to end. Bel and Luka are two characters you don’t want to let go of when the book ends.'
Find out more here

The Liz Bankes Funny Prize


Swim the Fly by Don Calame (particularly Coop, Ulf and randy Grandpa) 

Stitch Head by Guy Bass (particularly THE CREATURE) 

Hell's Bells: Samuel Johnson vs the Devil by John Connelly (Particularly Nurd the demon and Mr Merryweather's dwarves) 

Animal Tales by Terry Jones (particularly the elephant whose trousers fall off) 

Penny Dreadful is a Complete Catastrophe by Joanna Nadin (particularly Cosmo and Barry the cat)

(added through 'other': 
The Donut Diaries: Book One by Dermot Milligan, Anthony McGowan and David Tazzyman

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams)

And the winner is...

Penny Dreadful is a Complete Catastrophe by Joanna Nadin
Joanna Nadin is a v v v funny lady. Having built up my fandom through the adventures of Rachel Riley (and her uncle Jesus), I was thrilled to meet Penelope Jones, or 'Penny Dreadful' (which is her dad's idea of a nickname and a joke). She is full of amazing ideas - like the Patented Burglar Trap - but she is also a magnet for disaster, meaning there are often disastrous consequences - like the burglar trap tripping up granny. A trio of tales in each book, with crazy caper-y illustrations and perfect for readers aged 7 and up. And readers aged 25.  
Find out more here

Best book becomes film


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 2 (or, I LOVE SNAPE)
Breaking Dawn pt 1 (or, lots of scenes of people being angry and/or kissing to music, plus the dangers of a clawed baby)
Okay I know it isn't out yet, but even the trailer for THE HUNGER GAMES looks fabbity fab
The Eagle (of the Ninth) (or, Jamie Bell and an American beardy dude go on a quest with a touch of wrestling - YUM)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules

(added through 'other': Hugo)

And the winner is...

Harry Potter
I don't have much to say except 'SNAAAAAAAAAAPE'. And that I may have laughed at Draco's little beard at the end. And that Harry looked like a manchild. And that the entire aging process for Hermione seemed to consist of 'putting a coat on her'. Obviously I still loved it.

Book to scare you silly


The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish (A is for Alice, who fell down the stairs...) 

Envy by Gregg Olsen (you will never see alphabetti spaghetti without shuddering) 
The Dead Ways by Christopher Edge (for an incredibly creepy scene involving a little girl in a red coat) 
Gravenhunger by Harriet Goodwin (Like The Hunting Ground, will make you scared of houses)

(added through 'other': Crypt by Andrew Hammond)

And the winner is...

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish
Here are three things that you will never be able to do again after reading this book: 
1. Go to a big, old house without freaking out (especially the East Wing...) 
2. Look at old portraits of people without freaking out. 
3. Sleep.
The book is about Elliot and Ben, brothers who are forced to move to a crumbling old country manor than there father is restoring. It soon becomes clear that the house is not empty. It is possessed by something evil - something that is hunting them and isn't about to let them escape...
Find out more here.

Book to make you cry

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

The Heart in the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
FaRther by Grahame Baker-Smith
Being Billy by Phil Earle
(added through 'other': A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master)

And the winner is... 

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
I was out jogging and listening to this book being read by the lovely David Tennant when it got to the bit that made me cry (I won't spoil it for those that haven't read it - those that have may be able to guess!). So suddenly I was running and sobbing, which looks a bit odd to the passer-by. This was one of the stand-out books from last year. It takes you perfectly into ten-year-old Jamie's head as his family falls apart after his sister Rose died in a terrorist attack. The book is not just sad, of course, it's also warm, funny and brilliant. But it does get you in the eyes. 
Find out more here

Best picture book


Mrs Muffly's Monster by Sarah Dyer 

The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle 

Cats Ahoy! by Peter Bentley and Jim Field 
Again! by Emily Gravett 

A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton

(added through 'other': 
You Can't Scare a Princess! by Gillian Rogerson and Sarah McIntyre

The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen)

And the winner is...

Again! by Emily Gravett
I thought it would be silly to find a silly picture to illustrate this award. So let's just look at Emily Gravett's pictures. Again and again and again - just like Cedric the dragon and his favourite story. (All images (c) Emily Gravett, of course, just in case anyone thinks I am trying to pass myself of as immensely talented).
Find out more here

Best non-fiction


Talk Talk Squawk by Nicola Davies and Neal Layton 

Earth: The Life of a Planet by Mike Goldsmith and Mark Garlick 
How the World Works by Christiane Dorion and Beverly Young 

Philip Ardagh's Book of Kings, Queens, Emperors and Rotten Wart-nosed Commoners
The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean 
See Inside Inventions by Alex Frith 
(added through 'other': 
What on Earth Wallbook of Natural History by Chris Lloyd

Great Stories from British History by Geraldine McCaughrean)

And the winner is...

Philip Ardagh's Book of Kings, Queens, Emperors and Rotten Wart-nosed Commoners
For me history is about being nosy. I want to know all the funny, rude and gruesome details of what people got up to. So this book is right up my historical alley. It is full of trivia about people and the interesting things they did. And you can find out about Queen Elizabeth and the fart. 
Find out more here

Full list of winners:

Best leading lady - Alix from Hidden by Miriam Halahmy
Best leading man - Henry from VIII by H.M. Castor
Best couple - Bel and Luka from A Dark Ride by Caroline Green
The Liz Bankes Funny Prize - Penny Dreadful is a Complete Catastrophe by Joanna Nadin
Book to scare you silly - The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish
Book to make you cry - My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
Best picture book - Again! by Emily Gravett
Best non-fiction - Philip Ardagh's Book of Kings, Queens, Emperors and Rotten Wart-nosed Commoners
Read of 2011: Clash by Colin Mulhern


  1. Wonderful list, with so many of my favourites! Congratulations, everyone!

  2. Wow, am thrilled that Bel and Luka have won Best Couple. Thank you so much! I am doing up the ties on my golden bonnet now....x

    1. Haha - I expect you look most agreeable. It might get tiresome after a year though... I was also thrilled for Bel and Luka. I love love loved them. I wish you many good lucks for the Branford!

  3. loving your blog, :D am now following... please follow my blog at

    thanks, Leah :)

  4. your blog is awesome - consider me a follower!

  5. Amazing blog! Really it is very nice to see very beautiful.The new combined International Multi Brand Optometrist at Southbank Promenade. Wonderful!
    Mr Bankes