Guest Post – Research For The Bamboo Trilogy by Ann Bennett


I’m super excited to be part of the fab blog tour celebrating the release of Bamboo Road, the last book in a fab adult fiction trilogy!

Bamboo Road was released on the 1st March 2017 published by Monsoon Books.  The first book, Bamboo Heart was released in 2014 followed by Bamboo Island in 2015 and can be read in any order.  The books are a Southeast Asian WWII Trilogy.

For my stop of this fab tour, the author, Ann Bennett tells us a little more about the research that went into the books.


Thailand, 1943: Thomas Ellis, captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore, is a prisoner-of-war on the Death Railway. In stifling heat he endures endless days of clearing jungle, breaking stone and lugging wood. He must stay alive, although he is struck down by disease and tortured by Japanese guards, and he must stay strong, although he is starving and exhausted. For Tom has made himself a promise: to return home. Not to the grey streets of London, where he once lived, but to Penang, where he found paradise and love. London, 1986: Laura Ellis, a successful City lawyer, turns her back on her yuppie existence and travels to Southeast Asia. In Thailand and Malaysia she retraces her father’s past and discovers the truths he has refused to tell her. And in the place where her father once suffered and survived, she will finally find out how he got his Bamboo Heart. In a blend of stirring fiction and heart-wrenching history, Ann Bennett narrates the story of a soldier’s strength and survival in the bleakest of times and a daughter’s journey of discovery about her father and herself.

Bamboo Heart is volume one in a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy that includes Bamboo Island and Bamboo Road.

Juliet Crosby has lived a reclusive life on her Malayan rubber plantation since the Second World War robbed her of everyone she loved. However, the sudden appearance of a young woman from Indonesia disrupts her lonely existence and stirs up unsettling memories. Juliet is forced to recollect her prewar marriage, her wartime ordeals in Japanese-occupied Singapore and the loss of those she once held dear.

 Bamboo Island is part of a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy of historical fiction that can be read in any order and includes Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Road.

Thailand 1942: Sirinya and her family are members of the Thai underground, who risk their lives to resist the World War Two Japanese occupation and to and help British prisoners of war building the Thai-Burma railway. The events of those years have repercussions for decades to come. The book tells Sirinya s wartime story and how in the 1970s she returns to Kanchanaburi after a long absence abroad, to settle old scores from the war years.

Bamboo Road is volume three in a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy that includes Bamboo Heart and Bamboo Island (the books may be read in any order).


Research For The Bamboo Trilogy

I began researching the Second World War in South East Asia and the Thai-Burma railway well before the idea of writing books about it took root. The stories grew organically out of the research I did to find out about my father’s wartime experience. He died when I was seven, weakened by his three and a half years as a POW and I began to get interested in his experience when I was in my early twenties. My mother had two pre-printed postcards that Dad had sent home during his years as a POW which showed that he was interned in Thailand No.1 camp. I went to the Imperial War Museum and discovered that the camp was in Kanchanaburi but there were no consistent records there about prisoners of the Japanese.

My desire to find out more, first took me to Kanchanaburi in 1988 with my mother. There was only one museum there at the time; called the JEATH museum run by a Thai monk. It is a fascinating and unique place, but again holds no information about individual prisoners.

A few years later, I returned to the Imperial War Museum and found they held many first-hand accounts written by soldiers enslaved on the death railway. These are the most harrowing of reads and showed me more about what my father must have suffered, but nothing about where he had been or what had happened to him personally. By the time I returned to Kanchanaburi in 2005 with my husband and sons, I thought I knew as much as I was ever going to know.

In 2010 I came across the Far East Prisoners of War Community (FEPOW) on the internet. Through that community I discovered that in 1944 Dad had been transported from Singapore aboard the hell-ship Hofuku Maru which was torpedoed off Luzon in the Philippines by US aircraft. Out of around 1300 men aboard he was one of 221 survivors. He was put on another ship, the Hokusen Maru which ended up in Taiwan. Dad stayed on in Taiwan and was liberated from Shirikawa camp. The FEPOW community encouraged me to visit the National Archives in Kew to look for Dad’s liberation questionnaire and Japanese record card. To my amazement, both were there. It was an amazing moment when I first saw those records; written in his flowing handwriting in pencil, they answered so many questions I would have liked to ask. He had listed all the camps he had been in on the railway, and had written in detail about some of the horrors he had witnessed.

The information in Dad’s Liberation Questionnaire sowed the seeds for the plot of Bamboo Heart. To write the book though I did a great deal more research into the Malaya campaign and the plight of prisoners. I read several factual history books, including Surviving the Sword, The Fall of Singapore, etc. I also read as widely as I could about the war in South East Asia, although I found there wasn’t much fiction out there. I think […] must have been writing the Narrow Road to the Deep North at around the same time! I also did a great deal of internet research too including watching numerous documentaries on Youtube. Looking back at old diaries and photographs from my own trips were the inspiration for Laura’s journey in Bamboo Heart.

My research for Bamboo Heart taught me so much more about the war in the Far East than I had expected. I had not previously known how civilians suffered; about starvation and massacres, about bravery and sacrifice. It inspired me to explore those events from other angles and through other peoples’ stories. Bamboo Island is written from the point of view of an ordinary British woman who’d settled in Malaya but was caught up in the fall of Singapore. I was particularly moved by the sinking of the Vyner Brooke and the subsequent massacre of Australian nurses, which was the starting point for Juliet’s story. I read as much as I could about the civilian experience of living through the Japanese occupation. In particular Sheila Allen’s moving diary ‘Girl in Changi,’ made a great impression on me as did novels such as the Singapore Grip, and Amber Road (another Monsoon title).

Bamboo Road was inspired by the story of Boon Pong, a Thai merchant who took great risks to help prisoners of war building the death railway. I wanted to explore how the war and the Japanese occupation affected ordinary Thai people living in the area where the Death Railway was built. The great influx of Japanese soldiers and prisoners and the brutality and suffering must have had a devastating effect on their previously peaceful lives. I found out as much as I could about what it was like to live in the prosperous, peaceful community of Kanchanaburi before the railway came. I also researched Boon Pong’s own story, and visited his shophouse in Kanchanaburi whilst I was finalizing the draft. There isn’t a great deal written about him, but all the accounts, in ‘The Real Colonel of Tamarkan’ by Julie Summers, ‘Surviving the Sword’ and Beyond the Bamboo Screen, describe him as a very brave man with great humanity. I also read as much as I could about Thai culture and Buddhism, to understand my characters and what had influenced their outlook on life. I must have been to Thailand fifteen times since my first visit in 1985, so I have absorbed a great deal about the country and its culture during those visits which has found its way into the book. I should add that I have been trying to learn Thai for about five years now. It’s a difficult language to crack because of the different tones, the alphabet and the complex grammatical rules, but I’m sure that through that exercise I’ve absorbed a great deal about the country and its people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of these books here

Or why not add to your Goodreads here


About Ann Bennett

Ann Bennett was born and raised in a small village in Northamptonshire, UK. She read Law at Cambridge and qualified and practised as a solicitor. During a career break, to have children, she started to write. Her father had been a prisoner of war on the Thailand– Burma Railway and the idea for a Southeast Asian WWII trilogy came from researching his wartime experiences. The research took her back to Asia, a place she loves and has returned to many times. She lives in Surrey with her husband and three sons and works in London as a lawyer.

You can find out more about Ann on her website – www.bambooheart.co.uk

Or Ann’s blog here

Or why not follow Ann on twitter – @annbennett71

Or Facebook here


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Ann for such a brilliant guest post!  And to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read any of the Bamboo Trilogy?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Writing Harper by Cerrie Burnell


I am so excited to have the wonderful Cerrie Burnell on Tales to celebrate the release of another brilliant book in the Harper series, Harper and the Night Circus!

Harper and the Night Circus is a middle grade adventure and was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Scholastic UK and is gorgeously illustrated by the super talented Laura Ellen Anderson.

Other Harper adventures include….


 

 

 

 

 

 

So today I welcome Cerrie to the blog with a brilliant guest post all about Writing Harper.


Total fantasy bliss! Magical birds, dark forests and fairytale cities: there’s no better book to get lost in. Harper is on a mission! Rumours tell of the mysterious Ice Raven who lives among the ebony trees, singing a magical song that can melt hardened hearts. Now the Wild Conductor wants to capture this mythical bird and create the greatest orchestra ever known. So Harper and her friends set off to find the bird. Their journey takes them from the mysterious Night Forest to the City of Singing Clocks. But soon Harper realises she faces a dilemma. Should a wild, free creature like the Ice Raven ever be tied down?


Writing Harper

My Favourite Five Fun facts about Harper are

1.

When Harper arrived on the rooftop of the Tall Apartment Block, she came only with the Scarlet Umbrella and a note pinned to it by the feather of a dove.

2.

Midnight her cat arrived the very same night at the stroke of 12- the name seemed perfect! To this day no one knows where exactly Midnight came from.

3.

Until she was eight, Harper had no idea the Scarlet Umbrella could fly, as it was inside a bird in her Great Aunt Sassy’s bathroom.

4.

Nate is the first person Harper shares the umbrella’s magic with, he doesn’t doubt her for a moment and they become firm friends.

5.

Even though the Wild Conductor did a terrible thing in taking her cat, Harper forgives him as she can see he’s just a man trying to follow his dreams.

Harper and the Night Forest by Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson is published by Scholastic.
Available where all books are sold.

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Cerrie Burnell

Cerrie Burnell is a much-loved presenter on Cbeebies. She was named in the Observer’s top ten children’s presenters and also featured in the Guardian’s 2011 list of 100 most inspirational women where she received praise for tackling disability head on. Cerrie divides her time between London and Manchester. Her bestselling picture books Snowflakes and Mermaid, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson, have won critical acclaim. Magical adventure Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella was her first novel for young readers.

You can follow Cerrie on twitter – @cerrieburnell

About Laura Ellen Anderson

When she’s not trying to take over the world or fighting sock-stealing monsters, Laura Ellen Anderson is a professional children’s book author & illustrator, with an increasing addiction to coffee. She spends every waking hour creating & drawing and would quite like to live on the Moon when humans finally make it possible. 

You can find out more about Laura on her website – lauraellenanderson.tumblr.com

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @Lillustrator


Blog Tour

Why not follow or catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Cerrie for such a brilliant guest post and a bit more about Harper!  And to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read Harper and the Night Forest?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  Have you read any of the other Harper books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Five Women That Inspire Me by Caroline Baxter


I’m super excited to have a fab guest post from Caroline Baxter to celebrate the release of Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane was released on the 8th March 2017 published by Big Sunshine Books and is a brilliant picture book beautifully illustrated by Izabela Ciesinska.

Today for my stop on this fab blog tour I have a fab guest post from Caroline who is telling us about five women who have inspired her.


Join Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. Together Jane and Rose have exciting adventures and form a perfect team, delivering their passengers safely to destinations as far afield as Alaska and Australia. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with ‘lean, mean flying machine’ Mighty Mitch. Can she still get the Queen to her party on time? Featuring a clever and courageous heroine, this action-packed rhyming story celebrates ‘Girl Power’ and shows what you can achieve if you work together. Fasten your seatbelt and get ready for take-off!


Five Women that Inspire Me

My new children’s picture book, Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane week on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). The story follows the adventures of Pilot Jane, a fun and fearless airline captain, as she travels the world with her best friend Rose, a high-speed passenger jet. But when disaster strikes and Rose falls ill, Jane is paired with “lean, mean flying machine” Mighty Mitch. Can they navigate the oncoming storm and get the Queen to her party on time?

In creating the character of Pilot Jane, I set out to build a picture of a highly skilled pilot who was both clever and courageous. So many children’s picture books feature a boy as the hero, I wanted to show a girl who was at the top of her game – who had ambitions and a sense of adventure! Not only is Jane an airline captain, she also surfs, practises tai chi and speaks Chinese. In fact, if picture books weren’t so short, her capabilities would have been boundless! Together Jane and Rose form a perfect ‘girl power’ team and this led me to thinking about some of the inspirational women we admire, read about and come across every day.

Picking just five is, of course, almost impossible, but the women below have all moved me personally for different reasons. Some are world-renowned for their impact and talents, others are lesser-known, but I hope you’ll agree that they are all inspirational in some way:  

Aung San Suu Kyi

For many people, politician, activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi is one of the most inspirational figures of the 21st century. She has dedicated much of her life to bringing democracy to Myanmar and endured years of hardship, hunger and imprisonment for her country. Finally, in November 2015, she led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to a majority win in Myanmar’s first openly contested election. When I was a member of staff at Oxford University in 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi – a former student – received an honorary doctorate and her speech that day was one of the most moving I have ever heard. Despite having spent more than two decades of her life under house arrest, she showed grace and dignity, rather than bitterness and resentment, commenting that the past “never goes away . . . But you can select what is best from the past to help you go forward to the future”. Aung San Suu Kyi shows us that, with enough courage, we can all be agents for change in the world and improve others’ lives for the better.

Malala Yousafzai

Internationally-renowned education activist Malala Yousafzai would undoubtedly make it on to many people’s list of ‘inspiring women’. While only a teenager, Malala drew the world’s attention to the issue of girls’ education, in particular the millions of girls being denied a formal education in Pakistan and other parts of the world for social, political and economic reasons. Despite being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for speaking out about the importance of education, her human rights advocacy for women and for education has continued and grown into an international movement. At the age of 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is inspiring for so many reasons: her incredible courage in standing up to the Taliban; the wisdom and compassion she shows despite her youth, and her ongoing determination to fight for the right for all children to go to school. Like Aung San Suu Kyi, she is an example of how one person can have an extraordinary impact on the world by standing up for what they believe in.

J K Rowling

Well, I’d like to include a writer on my ‘inspiring women’ list and JK Rowling is certainly inspirational. As we all know, she wrote the first Harry Potter book as a struggling single mother, but has gone on to become the UK’s bestselling living author. However, in addition to her many professional achievements, Rowling is also inspiring for two reasons. Firstly, her impact extends not only across the world of books, but also across the charitable sector. Rowling supports numerous charities and organisations, but is particularly involved in anti-poverty campaigning and children’s welfare. She is a notable philanthropist who has used her professional success to benefit many others. Secondly, like many other inspiring women (and men), she is an advocate of living courageously and following your own path. Rowling has often talked about the importance of trying – and not being scared to fail. As she said in her speech to graduating students at Harvard: “You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default”. This seems an important and motivating message from a woman who has achieved so much.

The Iron Nun

Last year, my husband took part in an Ironman Race. This endurance contest comprised a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, all over the course of (in his case) a tortuous 15 hours. As someone who hasn’t done too much formal exercise since school, I was full of admiration. But when I read about another Ironman participant, the so-called ‘Iron Nun’, my admiration turned to awe. At 86 years old, Sister Madonna Buder has completed more than 40 Ironman races over a 30-year period. Having completed her first Ironman race at the tender age of 55, she became the oldest woman to ever complete an Ironman triathlon at 75. At 82 years old, she set a world record as the oldest Ironman triathlon competitor. For me, Sister Madonna is truly inspiring because of her positive attitude, fighting spirit and her determination to defy conventional notions of ageing. It might be time to get out my running shoes yet . . .

Roz Savage MBE, Ocean Rower

A few years ago Roz Savage, record-breaking ocean rower, author and motivational speaker, spoke at an event that I organised. Her words had a lasting impact on me – and, I’m sure, on everyone else in the room. Roz’s story is one of incredible personal transformation. After leaving university and working as a management consultant for 11 years, Roz decided to leave her job and home and change her life – totally! She reinvented herself as an adventurer and became the first woman to row solo across three oceans: the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Passionate about the environment and protecting our planet, she also used social media to share her story and eco message with tens of thousands of people. Now, having spent a total of 520 days alone at sea, rowing for 12 gruelling hours a day, she has become an authority on how to tackle challenges in difficult circumstances and what motivates us through the darkest of times. Roz’s journey from office worker to ocean rower is a perfect example of how anyone can change their life (and the lives of others) if they have enough courage, determination and resilience.

I hope you enjoyed this small selection of inspiring women – they are certainly all girls and women Pilot Jane would admire too! And thank you so much for having me on Tales of Yesterday.

You can buy this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Caroline Baxter

Caroline Baxter lives in Oxford with her husband and two young children. From an early age she always had her nose in a book – and now does so for a living! Caroline grew up in South Wales and, after graduating with a BA in English Literature from Cardiff University, held a variety of management roles at UK universities including, most recently, at the University of Oxford. The Bear Cub Bakers, her first book, was written while on maternity leave with her daughter. Her second book, Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane, was published recently on International Women’s Day (8 March 2017). Caroline loves travelling, yoga, baking (and eating) cake, dogs, days out and snuggling up with a good story.


Blog Tour

You can follow or catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Caroline for such a brilliant guest post and insight into the inspiration behind the book!  And to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of the blog tour!

Have you read Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets by Mark Stewart


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?

The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

They were basically what I was reading and enjoying as a young adult and thanks to the author Juno Dawson, who started #PointHorrorBookClub on her website in 2013, I have started to re-read these books that I used to rush to the shops every weekend and buy and sit for the whole weekend reading.

Juno announced in January 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on #pointhorrorbookclub and with her blessing I am going to try and carry it on with version 2!  Juno has done a fantastic job – I hope I can keep up her good work *gulps*

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here


I know lots of people who hold Point Horror close to their hearts and one of the things I love about hosting the #PointHorrorBookClub is getting to chat to other fans from all over the world!

Mark Stewart , who lives in Australia, is also a huge fan of all things Point Horror and has been joining in with us on #PointHorrorBookClub for what seems like ages now.  Mark and I were chatting and he had a brilliant idea for a guest post about the Point Horror Box Sets so I invited him along to chat about them!

It’s such a fascinating post and shows how different the Point Horror Books were marketed in Australia and possibly were even released way before here in England! 

You can find out more about how the Point Horror Books came to be in England in this fab guest post about Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis-  here

*hands microphone to Mark*


Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets

As the popularity of Point Horror (PH) began to grow in the late 1980’s, Scholastic hit on the bright idea of packaging up some of their best-selling titles and selling them in box sets. These various sets were released until the mid 1990’s and, seriously, what horror junkie wouldn’t have loved unwrapping one of these babies on Christmas morning?

 Information on publishing dates, numbers released, titles included is scarce to say the least – in fact, even just finding out what sets exist is tricky! So I’m hoping that by sharing what information I have, that maybe some other information might come to light. Wherever I have made an assumption, I’ll endeavour to justify my reasoning.

 So let’s start at the start…

 The ‘Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (TCN) box set appears to be the first one released. There are a few reasons why I believe this to be the case: 1) The books included are from 1985 – 1988, 2) The ‘Point’ logo on the spines is pre ‘blood splatter’ and 3) the cover price of the set is $11.00 USD. The cover price is especially telling as I have no other PH box set with an $11.00 cover price; every other set I have has a higher price.

As pictured, I’ve been lucky enough to find a sealed set for my collection. Given that it is sealed, I feel it’s safe to say that the books included in the first TCN set are:

·         Slumber Party (1985) – Christopher Pike

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         Twisted (1987) – R. L. Stine

·         The Lifeguard (1988) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

 The presence of ‘The Lifeguard’ dates this set as being from 1988 (at the earliest). I would assume that ‘The Lifeguard’ would be an early edition, potentially a first edition, whereas the others may be subsequent printings – but I’m not about to open my set to check!

 Including such big YA horror hitters as Pike, Stine and RTC I’m assuming led to a sales return from the box set idea that was pleasing to the powers that be at Scholastic. So the TCN box set was re-released, this time with a cover price of $11.80 USD. It’s quite easy to see the difference as the re-release’s cover price is on a white background as well.


Now here’s the catch – although I have two of the re-release box sets, both are unsealed and while both contain the same 4 books, one clearly has a couple of later release versions in it that someone presumably added in at a later stage. This leads to the biggest question mark I have over PH box sets – determining the make-up of the titles. Given that I do have two copies of the TCN re-release (from different places) and they both have the same titles, I’m 99% certain that these are the books originally included. One clue that helps me to be 99% confident is that the total cover price of the 4 books – $2.95 x 4 = $11.80

 The re-released TCN contains 3 different novels from the first:

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         The Boyfriend (1990) – R. L. Stine

·         The Accident (1991) – Diane Hoh

·         The Snowman (1991) – R. L. Stine.

 As with the original TCN set, the age of the books helps identify a release date. So while the original TCN was released c. 1988, the TCN re-release was released c. 1991. The Accident and The Snowman in my set are both second edition printings, which makes some sense – I would assume that the initial print run would have been sold as standalone novels and then subsequently bundled into the box set.

 One other point of note with the two TCN sets is that the re-release features the cover art of a book (Slumber Party) that is absent from the set. This is pretty rare for PH box sets.

 The fact that the re-release of TCN seems to be c.1991 is made all the more intriguing by another great feature of PH – the sequel. In the case of TCN, two follow up box sets ‘More Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (MTCN) and ‘Still More Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ (SMTCN) were released as the PH machine kicked into high gear.

It would appear that two versions of MTCN were released, however unlike TCN there is no difference in the cover price (both $11.80) and I would assume that both sets were released at the same time c.1989 based on the titles included.

 Version 1:

·         Blind Date (1986) – R. L. Stine

·         The Babysitter (1989) – R. L. Stine

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

 Version 2:

·         The Babysitter (1989) – R. L. Stine

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

·         Prom Dress (1989) – Lael Littke

 The only difference between the sets is ‘Blind Date’ and ‘Prom Dress’. Online research shows a number of different sites listing both versions. I’ve yet to see a sealed set, so I can’t be 100% sure of the titles, however these two combinations are all I’ve ever come across, so I don’t believe there is a third version.

 So our time line now reads:

 1988 – TCN

1989 – MTCN

1990 –

1991 – TCN (re-release)

 “So what about 1990?” I hear you cry – and you have a point. Filling that gap is SMTCN. Also with a cover price of $11.80, its line-up of titles suggests that it is our c. 1990 set. I’m only aware of one version of this set:

·         My Secret Admirer (1989) – Carol Ellis

·         April Fools (1990) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Beach Party (1990) – R. L. Stine

·         Final Exam (1990) – A. Bates

 In summary, the ‘Thrills, Chills and Nightmares’ series of box sets provided PH fans with a great selection of titles across 5 sets spanning 4 years. With the inclusion of some PH classics, I’ve no doubt that the sets were big winners with the fans. The re-release of TCN in 1991 is a bit of an oddity; perhaps they had left over sleeves that they wanted to use up as opposed to designing new ones? Perhaps the presence of other box sets on the shelves led Scholastic to believe that readers who may have missed out on the first set and had since bought the latter sets might want to complete their collection? There is certainly no doubt that the sequel sets preceded the re-release of TCN, so it might just remain a mystery for some time to come!

Well, that’s enough for today – I’ll have another box set story for you shortly 🙂

Please feel free to comment below.

Mark


A huge huge thank you to Mark for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab guest post!

I honestly cannot thank Mark enough!  Point Horror was my childhood and I feel so honoured to be able to still chat about it today! 

*claps hands excitedly*

It’s such a fascinating post and shows how different the Point Horror Books were marketed in Australia and possibly were even released way before here in England!

Were these box sets even released over here in England?  And with the likes of Pike appearing in these box sets and Twisted by R L Stine under the then named Point banner why were these excluded from the Point Horror brand in England?  So many questions!  But so many extra books to potentially add into our Point Horror collections!

You can find out more about how the Point Horror Books came to be in England in this fab guest post about Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis-  here


Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

You can find all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Guest Post – Sweet Elixir by Laura Lam


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book, Masquerade by Laura Lam!

Masquerade is the third and final novel in Laura Lam’s Micah Grey trilogy, following Pantomime and Shadowplay, and was published on the 9th March 2017.


 

 

 

 

 

 

I am super excited to have Laura on the blog today.  Each chapter of Masquerade contains an italicised header which relates to the book in some way. Laura dedicated a lot of time to researching and selecting each excerpt and I’m so honoured to be sharing one of them today, with a bit of explanation from Laura on what each means, where it’s from, etc.

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .

Gene’s life resembles a debutante’s dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities – last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as ‘Micah Grey’, Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight – but the circus has a dark side. She’s also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar?

Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan – now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.

Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be – a noble family’s runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah’s latent powers influence this deadly pattern?

The gifted hide their talents, but dare they step into the light?

Micah’s Chimaera powers are growing, until his dark visions overwhelm him. Drystan is forced to take him to Dr Pozzi, to save his life. But can they really trust the doctor, especially when a close friend is revealed to be his spy?

Meanwhile, violent unrest is sweeping the country, as anti-royalist factions fight to be heard. Then three chimaera are attacked, after revealing their existence with the monarchy’s blessing – and the struggle becomes personal. A small sect decimated the chimaera in ancient times and nearly destroyed the world. Now they’ve re-emerged to spread terror once more. Micah will discover a royal secret, which draws him into the heart of the conflict. And he and his friends must risk everything to finally bring peace to their land.

You can buy these books here

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


Sweet Elixir

The thing about addiction is that I know it’s what will kill me. It won’t be a carriage in the road, or a common flu, or even the slow creep of cancer. It’s almost certain that Lerium will be what ends me. And there’s a strange, awful sort of comfort in that.

From the anonymous memoir of a Lerium addict, discovered and published post-mortem

Every chapter in the Micah Grey series has a short found document at the start, ranging from a variety of sources: history books, diaries, songs, poetry, and more. It’s basically a sneaky way to add in more worldbuilding and detail about Ellada & the Archipelago.

Addiction is a reoccurring theme in Masquerade.If anyone has read my tie-in Vestigial Tale “The Card Sharp,” it picks up on a lot of threads that are introduced in that novella. Lerium is the fictional drug within Ellada, which has clear parallels to opium in the 19th century. It was only used in very special religious ceremonies in one of the former colonies, Byssia, but Elladans took it and used it commercially because of colonialism. The colonies have long seceded from Ellada, reclaiming their independence, but the damage has been done. There’s another drug that’s sort of a continuation of Lerium as well, and it complicates a lot of character interactions within the final book. A little vague, but difficult to talk about the third book in a trilogy!

You can buy Masquerade or any of the Micah Grey Series here

If you buy Pantomime or Masquerade & send your receipt to Laura, you can claim a free 10k short story, “The Mechanical Minotaur,” set in the same world. If you buy all three, you can claim 60k of free fiction as well. More details here.


About Laura Lam

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

You can find out more about Laura on her website – www.lauralam.co.uk

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @LR_Lam


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Laura for such a brilliant guest post and a fascinating insight into the trilogy!  And to Alice at Pan Macmillan for organising and sending me a copy of this fab book!

Have you read any of the Micah Grey Series?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Dead Embers by Matt Brolly


Today I am super excited to be spotlighting a fab new Adult Crime Thriller by Matt Brolly, Dead Embers which is the third book in the DCI Michael Lambert series.

Dead Embers was released on the 6th March 2017 published by Canelo and is available in ebook!

“Gripping, chilling to its core and full of twists, the powerful new DCI Michael Lambert from Matt Brolly is perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Helen H. Durrant and Michael Hambling.” 

So for my stop on this fab blog tour I am spotlighting this fab author and book!


An explosive fire. A double murder. And that’s just the start…

When DCI Michael Lambert is called out to an apparent house fire, he knows it can’t be routine. Instead he finds the remains of a burnt house, a traumatised child and two corpses – one of whom is a senior police officer. Lambert’s got other problems. Anti-corruption are onto his boss. His relationships is on the rocks. He can’t get over his ex-wife and he keeps blacking out. But when a detective has been murdered the stakes are too high to get distracted. All is not as it seems. As the investigation continues Lambert realises he is getting drawn into something altogether bigger and more terrifying than he could ever have imagined… Trust no one.

You can buy a copy of this book here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Matt Brolly

Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He reads widely across all genres, and is currently working on the third in his Michael Lambert thriller series. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

You can find out more about Matt Brolly on his website – www.mattbrolly.co.uk

Or why not follow Matt on Twitter – @MatthewBrolly

Or Facebook here


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Dead Embers?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?   Have you read any of the other DCI Michael Lambert books? I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Three Terrible Writing Myths and Three Amazing Writing Tips by Mary G. Thompson


I have recently received this awesome YA Thriller by US author Mary G. Thompson, Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee which was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Chicken House.

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is perfect for fans of Louise O’Neill, Lisa Heathfield and Cat Clarke’s The Lost and the Found.

I’ve heard such good things about this book already and I simply cannot wait to read it!

“Cleverly interspersing the present-day story with flashbacks, Mary G. Thompson masterfully drip-feeds twists and turns into AMY CHELSEA STACIE DEE until it builds to its heart-in-mouth conclusion.”

I am so excited to have a fab guest post from the author herself about writing myths and tips…..


Cousins Amy and Dee were kidnapped by a stranger as children. Now, sixteen-year-old Amy is back with her parents. Dressed in purple and clutching a plastic doll, she refuses to answer questions. As Amy struggles towards a normal teenage life, her family – and the police – press her for information. Unable to escape her past, Amy realizes she has to confront the truth. How did she survive? How did she escape? And what happened to Dee?

You can read the first chapter here


Three Terrible Writing Myths and Three Amazing Writing Tips!

Myth #1:

You need creativity to strike.

I’m not going to claim that ideas don’t sometimes come in the middle of the night or at other inconvenient times. They definitely do! I get them while I’m at the day job or on the subway or half asleep or in the shower. I almost never get an aha idea while I’m sitting in front of the computer ready to write. But that’s okay, because most of writing is not about ideas, it’s about execution. That means sitting your butt in the chair (or, if you’re trying to be healthy, standing your feet at your standing desk), and writing all the words that bring the idea to life. But what if that idea just isn’t coming? Well, that leads me to …

Myth #2:

Writer’s Block.

That’s right, writer’s block is a myth! I always say that there are two states for a writer, working and not working. What people think of as writer’s block is really just not working. If you sit in front of your computer and think, you will eventually think of something to write, and if you begin to write, you will eventually have a base from which to build. Whenever I say this to people, they object. They always have a reason why writer’s block is a legitimately totally real thing for them. It isn’t! If you think you have writer’s block, you are actually procrastinating. We all do it, but it’s something we all need to overcome. Sometimes writing is just as hard as any other job, and we can’t wait to magically find …

Myth #3:

The zone.

Ok, this may not be a myth for everyone. I have author friends who tell me that they sometimes get lost in a book and don’t realize that four hours have passed. This never happens to me! I have a terrible time concentrating. I stare off into space and fidget and surf the internet and text my friends and everything else. I know that I’m terrible at concentrating, so I don’t expect myself to magically fall into a fugue state. And this leads me to my first tip!

Tip #1:

Work longer, not smarter.

This tip is for people like me who have trouble concentrating. If you are like me but you expect yourself to write your daily word count goal in one hour, you are going to stress yourself out and be frustrated. Since I know myself, I’ve totally given up on efficiency. Instead, I set aside the time to sit in the chair until I know I can accomplish my goal. For me, this means I set aside at least five good hours on every day I have off of my day job. That’s five hours of time that’s totally uninterrupted except for all the ways my own brain finds to interrupt me. A lot of people dislike this tip because they are still trying to break into the business and have day jobs and/or kids that make it tough to find uninterrupted time. Which leads me to …

Tip #2:

Keep a regular schedule.

You can make up for a lack of long blocks of time by writing at the same time every day or for the same blocks of time every week. When I was a lawyer working longer hours, I would write for about an hour every day after work. This wasn’t ideal, but combined with several hours on the weekend, it added up to what became my first book. The important thing for me is to work regularly enough to keep the book in my head so I don’t forget what is going on. It is key to work steadily and never go long periods of time without writing, which leads me to …

Tip #3:

Do not stop!

Some people will tell you that when you finish a manuscript, you should set it aside and let it breathe or something for a few months. I advise against this. I usually end up taking a few days between finishing a draft and starting a revision, but too much time pulls you out of the story and sets you back. You wouldn’t stop going to your day job for months, so you shouldn’t stop writing either. The good news is, you don’t have to be a magical creative genius! All you have to do is keep writing and writing until you have a book!

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson is out now priced £6.99

You can buy a copy of Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee here or from your local bookshop!


About Mary G. Thompson

Mary G. Thompson was raised in Oregon, USA. She was a practicing attorney for more than seven years, including almost five years in the US Navy, and is now a law librarian in Washington, DC. She received her BA from Boston University, her JD from the University of Oregon, and her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. This is her fifth book.

You can find out more about Mary G. Thompson on her website – www.marygthompson.com

Or why not follow Mary of twitter – @marygthompson


A huge thank you to Mary for such a brilliant guest post and some brilliant writing tips!  And to Jazz at Chicken House for organising and sending me a copy of this fab book!

Have you read Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Inspiration For The Setting Of See How They Lie by Sue Wallman


I was a huge fan of Sue Wallman’s debut Lying About Last Summer which was released last year and was also featured as part of the #ZoellaBookClub and I have been craving her next book ever since!

See How They Lie was released on the 2nd March 2017 published by Scholastic and when it dropped through my letterbox I started it straight away!

See How They Lie is set in at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help and the setting really captures your imagination from the offset.  I was interested in why Sue chose this particular setting for her second book.  Find out more in this fab guest post from the lady herself!

I also have an awesome giveaway!  Details at the bottom of the post!


Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous.


Inspiration For The Setting Of See How They Lie

I’d been searching for an idea for my next book for what seemed like months and I was starting to panic. The right idea just wouldn’t emerge. I thought back through my life experiences to see if that would spark anything – and then I remembered: when I was six I lived in a psychiatric hospital in York. My dad had started a new job as a psychiatrist there, and my parents hadn’t yet found a house to buy.

The five of us (my sister was eight and my brother was four) moved into an unused part of the hospital. We didn’t have our own entrance – just a thick-fabric screen partitioning off our section of the building (the sort that people change behind in period dramas). We slept on hospital beds which felt perilously high up off the ground until we got used to them. For some reason their height wasn’t adjustable. I spent most of my time cycling round paths in the beautiful rose garden with my sister. Once a week we had a formal Sunday lunch with the matron, and we had to be on our best behaviour because she was pretty scary.

Occasionally we were taken to say hello to the patients. We knew we had to be polite and respectful. They all seemed to be the same age (old) to six-year-old me, and I remember not being sure what to say, and often not understanding what they were saying. My dad knew what to say though, and this made me proud.

Then Mum and Dad bought a house, we moved out of the hospital and we had a new normal.

It wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to think about what it would be like for someone to be brought up for years in an isolated psychiatric facility as a doctor’s daughter. I made the facility super-luxurious, and more of a wellness retreat. And then I added a large amount of creepiness because otherwise it wouldn’t be a psychological thriller!

You can buy a copy of See How They Lie here or from your local bookshop


About Sue Wallman

Sue Wallman is a journalist who lives in London with her husband and three teenage daughters. In 2013 she won the Bailey’s Women’s Prize first chapter award judged by Rachel Joyce and Kate Mosse. LYING ABOUT LAST SUMMER is her debut novel followed by See How They Lie.

To find out more about Sue Wallman you can visit her website – http://suewallman.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter using @swallman

You can find my review of Lying About Last Summer here

Or find our which character from Lying About Last Summer you are here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have 3 copies of this fab YA Thriller to giveaway on twitter.

You can enter here

Ends 15/03/2017

UK Only

Good Luck!


A huge thank you to Sue for such a brilliant guest post and insight into the inspiration behind the book!  And to Olivia at Scholastic for organising and asking me to host a fab giveaway!

Have you read See How They Lie?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Inspiration, Explorers and Exploring by Roland Chambers


Today I am hugely excited to have the wonderful Roland Chambers on Tales with a wonderful guest post!

Roland Chamber is the author of Nelly and the Flight of the Sky Lantern which was released on the 2nd February and previously Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody which was released in 2015 and are wonderful middle grade reads.  Both books are beautifully illustrated by Ella Okstad.


 

 

 

 

 

 

The books follow the epic adventures of explorer Nelly and her best friend and sidekick, a turtle called Columbus.

Nelly makes for a clever, tenacious and positive female protagonist.” – The School Librarian

Roland did some fascinating research into real-life female explorers for the books. Nelly becomes a balloonist in the latest book, which draws inspiration from the eighteenth-century ballooning pioneer Sophie Blanchard.

With this in mind, and the fact that it’s International woman’s day on the 8th March, we thought this would make a really fascinating blog post about inspiration and exploring and explorers……


One girl. One turtle. One epic voyage! If you like Pippi Longstocking, you’ll love Nelly Peabody.
When Nelly says she’s going to do a thing, she does it, whatever it is.
Learn to juggle china cups? Of course!
Live on lemons for a month? Why not?
Set out in a boat with knitted sails to find her long-lost father, with only her turtle Columbus for company? Absolutely!
And she won’t let anything get in her way . . .

Sometimes secrets are hidden in the most obvious places.
When Nelly returns home to discover that her mother has mysteriously disappeared, she vows to stop at nothing until she’s found her.
Climb to the tops of the clouds in a laundry basket? Why not? Dive to the depths of the ocean in an oversized tin can? Of course! Leave her turtle, Columbus, behind? CERTAINLY NOT! He’s her best friend, what an awful suggestion.
Together they will find the answers!
An original, quirky adventure story, beautifully written, packed with eccentric characters, and illustrated throughout in two colour. If you like Pippi Longstocking, you’ll love Nelly Peabody.


Inspiration, Explorers and Exploring

When my daughter Nelly was born I was the first person to make eye contact with her as she cartwheeled up into her mother’s arms. It was such an intense moment that I remember it in black and white, in freeze frames. That’s what it was like for me – electrifying, life-changing – but just imagine what it must have been like for her. The shock of it. The sudden freedom of movement. The cold air on her skin and this hairy giant goggling at her. This doting monster. The atmosphere of a new and strange planet filling her lungs.

When we think of explorers, we often think of men with snow-caked beards gripping ice-picks or hacking at tropical undergrowth, but actually we are all explorers from the moment we’re born. Some people don’t like to admit it. They live their lives as far as possible from the edge, making sure they know where everything is and what’s going to happen next, eating the same breakfast every day, taking the same route to work. But some people want to keep on busting out, and at least half of them are women, like my daughter Nelly, leaping from high furniture, conquering the BMX track, listening wide eyed to stories of Sophie Blanchard, who over two hundred years ago amazed the world by taking to the air beneath a hydrogen balloon in a basket no bigger than a rocking chair.

A little while ago I wrote a book about a fictional Nelly who sets off to find her missing father in a boat with knitted sails and only her pet turtle, Columbus, for company. Nelly sails half way round the world to discover the truant still in his pyjamas, gone native in a forest of his own planting, and along the way has so many adventures of her own she forgives him a little for his thoughtlessness. Then she comes home, only to discover her mother has vanished too, so off she goes again, this time in a hot air balloon, like the mighty Sophie Blanchard. She floats to the very edge of space, where it is impossible to breath, but before she finally solves the mystery, she has to dive to the bottom of the ocean too, because pinning down a mother is not an easy thing. A mother is a whole world.

Exploring is about returning to the beginning, to the astonishment of being born, which is why the Victorians were always hunting for the source of famous rivers, like the Nile or the Amazon. It’s about breaking new ground, but it’s also an act of self-discovery. A journey to the centre, into the great, dark interior, where all true things live. Or that’s what Nelly finds. She follows in the footsteps of women like Sacawega, who led the Lewis and Clark expedition into the Wild West, or the deep sea diver Sylvia Earl. She finds out where her mother is and in hunting her down, begins to understand her. She discovers her own source, the origin of Nelly, but not so completely that there will be no need of further adventures. Of course not! Because being born is one thing, but you wouldn’t want to leave it at that, would you? Not if you’re a real explorer. You’ll need to do it again and again until you’ve busted out completely, whatever that means, wherever that goes. Let your inner Nelly take you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of these books here or from your local bookshop


About Roland Chambers

Roland Chambers has had some adventures of his own. He’s been a pig farmer, a film maker, a journalist, a pastry chef, a cartoonist, a teacher, a private detective and an author. He’s also lived in a few different countries, including Scotland, Australia, Poland, America and Russia. Now he lives with a professor next to a cake shop in London. He owns two cats, two children and two guinea pigs. Roland is currently working with the charity First Story (http://www.firststory.co.uk/) as a writer-in-residence at Pimlico Academy.

You can find out more about Roland on his website – www.rolandchambers.com

About Ella Okstad

Ella Okstad was born in Trondheim, Norway in 1973. She graduated from Kent Institute of Art and Design with a BA Hons degree in illustration in 2000. She now lives and works in Trondheim, Norway.  She has illustrated a range of children’s books including the Squishy McFluff series (Faber & Faber). She illustrated the first Nelly adventure Nelly and the Quest for Captain Peabody and most recently Nelly and the Flight of the Sky Lantern.


A huge thank you to Roland for a fantastic post!  Also a huge big thank you to Hannah at OUP for asking me to host.

Have you read any of Nelly’s adventures?  Who are your favourite explorers?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


Early in 2016 I was contacted by Harriet from Andersen about a book.  Her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.  That book was this book.  It completely took me by surprise and moved me to tears and it ended up featuring on my fave books of 2016 list.

Orbiting Jupiter was released in hardback on 31st December 2015 and now, on the 2nd March 2017, it’s being released in a gorgeous paperback so I wanted to shine the spotlight on it today!

I also have a little treat in store in celebration!


A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here

Here’s a tiny summary of my thoughts….

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.


About Gary D. Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Andersen Press and in celebration of the paperback release of this gorgeous book I have a signed copy of Orbiting Jupiter to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter for a chance to win through my twitter account here

Ends 13/03/2017

UK Only


A huge thank you to Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to feature this amazing giveaway and for being so hugely amazing!

Have you read  Orbiting Jupiter?  What did you think?  Has this spotlight and my review convinced you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading!

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