Geek Girl: All Wrapped Up – Book Review

Guess what happens a month today?

Yes, you’ve guessed it I’m a Christmas Geek – I love it, but do I love it as much as Harriet Manners the quintessential Geek Girl?


Here’s just a few things she knows about Christmas (with my additions in brackets):


In the Ukraine, Christmas trees are decorated with spider’s webs

(Is that really decoration or fear of cleaning?)

The First Ever Christmas card was sold in 1843 and depicted a family drinking wine


All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 separate presents

(Even Dudley Dursley couldn’t complain about that number)

The word mistletoe comes from the Old English word mistletan, which means poo twig, because it spreads itself through seeds in bird droppings that land on tree branches

(Haha – poo twig, that’s worse than thinking it’s infested with Nargles)

The most romantic Christmas fact ever – in 1913, a couple were fined fifteen dollars for kissing in the streets of New York City on Christmas Day

(Awwww, somebody needed visiting by three ghosts).


What Harriet doesn’t know an awful lot about though is dating… but when you’ve kissed Lion Boy that’s the next step…if he gets round to ringing you.

All Wrapped Up is a festive Geek Girl special from Holly Smale which fits into the events of the first book.

Harriet is supported to reach her next relationship milestone by the usual suspects including my favourite stalker Toby and a rather suspect list on ‘how to ace a date’ that really should simply say – be yourself.

Having recently been on a first date of my own at the time of reading this I felt Harriet was channelling my inner thoughts and paranoias, even though our ages are “a few years” apart. Dating – the universal evil! Holly’s comic style works well in short form and I found myself giggling along. There’s a comfort in coming back to Harriet, and it was nice to revisit her as she started out.

The romance factor is this book is high, there’s ice-skating and plenty of falling. Things are not straightforward, but it’s a perfect Christmassy tale with a warm ending. Wait until a chilly day, come in from the cold, make yourself a hot chocolate and settle down on the sofa with All Wrapped Up.

The book contains All Wrapped Up: a short story of what happens after that first kiss, as well as the previously limited edition short Team Geek, a Q&A with Holly, and some other festive extras – including a survey that you can test your gift giving skills with (although you might be banned from future family Christmases if you employ it).

Huge thanks to Serena from HarperCollins for my copy (and the list of geeky facts), the fact that I didn’t have to chew your arm off to get it does not affect my opinion of the book. 5 stars.


Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb – Book Review – Blog Tour

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to host a guest post by Holly Webb on how she approached working with someone else’s characters. Now, I’ve had the opportunity to read Return to the Secret Garden thanks to Faye Rogers PR and Scholastic.

In preparation I re-read my Classic Adventures version of The Secret Garden and really enjoyed rediscovering the garden along with Mary Lennox, Dickon and Colin.


Holly’s sequel Return to the Secret Garden is set in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War. Emmie is our protagonist whisked away from London to Misselthwaite Manor in Yorskshire before the bombs start dropping. She is forced to abandon a stray cat called Lucy, but as an orphan, everyone else she knows comes with her.

Emmie finds a set of diaries in the room she is staying in and through them finds a connection to Mary and sets about following in her footsteps and finding the Secret Garden.

The echoes from the first book don’t stop there, there’s a robin, a grumpy gardener and strange crying noises in the night.

As Holly said, the main character she used was the house and its gardens but we do also get to meet the original characters but not perhaps in the way we’d expect. The presence of war invades and not everyone has a happy ending.

Because the garden hasn’t been abandoned we don’t quite get to see it coming to life in the same way as the original but Holly has done a fantastic job of making connections to the original alongside creating her own story. You won’t need to have read The Secret Garden…but I’d advise that at some point you do.

My ratings were:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – 5*
Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb – 4*

Return… is a fitting follow up that gives us insight into the life of the garden  and the characters from the first book whilst introducing us to a new group of children and that cat called Lucy… the magic of the garden is at work again.

This is the last post on the tour but do check out what everyone else thought too. Return to the Secret Garden is out now.

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Out of Orbit Blog Tour – Guest post by author Chele Cooke

I had author Chele Cooke on my blog a while back to talk about her vampire novel Teeth – now she’s back with the third book in her science-fiction series Out of Orbit. On the 29th October 2015, Rack and Ruin continues the story started in the first two books, Dead and Buryd and Fight or Flight. (Click on the titles to find out more about each book).

Chele is on my blog today though to share her Top Ten Series (not including her own, which of course you are welcome to add to your top ten lists).

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My Top Ten Series

Earlier in this blog tour, I answered the question of my top ten favourite books. I had to narrow down my possible choices, and in the end, I still ended up with an entire series as one of my answers. Luckily, hopefully choosing my favourite series of books will be a bit easier.

  1. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

This is the book series that I couldn’t choose a single book for. I love it. I first read Harry Potter as a teenager and I was one of those people who queued at midnight for the final books. These books are what started me writing (I started out writing fanfiction) and so they’ll always be very close to my heart.

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I ploughed through this series in a matter of days. I was lucky that I waited so long to pick it up, because it meant I didn’t have to wait. Admittedly, I think the third book doesn’t stand up to the rest of the series, it felt a bit squashed to me, but it’s still a series I adore rereading.

  1. A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R Martin

I’ve listened to this series on audiobook, and at about 80 hours per book, I’ve put a lot of time into it already. I both love and loath the detail that goes into these books, and there are times when I really wish someone had taken an axe to all the excess characters and points of view, but never let it be said that G.R.R Martin doesn’t know how to make a detailed and interesting fantasy world.

  1. The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett

There is far too much to say about Discworld to put into a small paragraph. I actually started out with Discworld via a point and click PC game. It was, without a doubt, the most infuriating game I have ever come across. If anyone can get through it without looking up answers, I bow down to you! Also, getting through it without hating the phrase “That doesn’t work” is impossible.

Terry Pratchett is far more of a wizard than anyone in his books. What he has created is astonishing.

  1. The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire

Not only did Maguire retell The Wizard of Oz, but he continued his wonderful story with three more fantastic books, turning what little we knew about Oz into a story far more interesting than the original tale. I love his detail and his willingness to roam into the darker sides.

  1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

We’re including the Hobbit in this! I don’t care what anyone says, I am including the Hobbit in this series because I love it, and I don’t think it should be discounted. Tolkien is one of the fathers of Fantasy, and I’d not be able to get through a series top ten without including him. Like Martin and Pratchett, the world he has created is beyond astounding.

  1. The Wool Trilogy by Hugh Howey

There’s something mesmerisingly claustrophobic about Hugh Howey’s Wool trilogy. Taking place inside underground silos, there is a closeness to it that Howey has recreated wonderfully in his language.

  1. Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind

Another epic fantasy series where the books are quite long by themselves. I’m still only about four books in (out of more than a dozen) because other books sometimes get in the way. They’re quite dense books, and can be a little hard going at times, but I love the complexity of the world, the magic system, and the history. Plus, Zed is amazing! How can you not love a crazy old wizard you first see standing naked on a stone holding a chicken?

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis

Yep, I’m going back to childhood! These, along with Roald Dahl, were some of my favourite books as a kid, and I get quite nostalgic for them.

  1. Books by Jane Green

A little bit of cheating here, because technically these books are not a series. They’re stand alone novels, but all by the same author. I love Jane Green and she writes most of my favourite comfort read books. I can pick up any one of them and know I’ll enjoy it. So, while they’re not about the same characters, and they’re not the same settings, they give me the same feeling, and sometimes that’s just what I need.

I only cheated once, hurrah! There are some other series I could have mentioned, but admittedly those are the series where I feel like one of the books let it down. For example, I really enjoyed the Divergent series, but I felt the last book and the one-eighty the story took, let it down quite a bit.

I’d also like to celebrate the fact I didn’t go into my top ten TV series, because that is another wide and interesting list.

So, how many of Chele’s favourite series have you read?


There is a tour wide giveaway.

The prizes include;

A full set of Out of Orbit series in paperback and a £25 Amazon giftcard

Ten ebook sets of the Out of Orbit series

Click on the link above to enter and check out the other blog stops below.

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