Spotlight – Blackbird by N D Gomes


Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for this brilliant new YA by N D Gomes, Blackbird.

A Dark contemporary YA following a murder mystery on Orkney that fans of 13 Reasons Why will devour.

Blackbird was released on the 16th November published by the lovely people at HQ and I am super excited to be sharing a fab extract from the book today here on Tales!

So sit back and jump in….


Dark contemporary YA following a murder mystery on Orkney that fans of 13 Reasons Why will devour.

Olivia disappeared the night the blackbird died.

It was New Years Eve the night that dead blackbirds descended, hours before fourteen year old Alex McCarthy’s sister Olivia went missing from a party.

Committed to finding out what happened to her sister, within the previously safe walls of their subarctic Orkney village, Alex knows that dishevelled, sometimes intoxicated Detective Inspector Birkens is her best shot.

Yet as they uncover the secrets behind Olivia’s last night, Alex starts to find things she may be better off never knowing…


Extract

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


About N D Gomes

N.D. Gomes graduated from the University of Stirling with a B.A. in Media Studies, and is currently completing an MLitt in Literature and Creative Writing. She also holds an M.Ed. in Education and worked for several years in the US public education system. Her first novel, Dear Charlie, was published in 2016, followed by Blackbird in 2017. N.D. Gomes currently lives in Scotland.

You can follow N D Gomes on twitter – @nd_gomes


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at HQ I have 1 x copy of Blackbird to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

I’m hosting this over on my twitter page so do head over and check it out here!

UK Only

Ends 29th November

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to HQ and N D Gomes for having me on this fab blog tour and for the super intriguing extract!

Have you read Blackbird?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Point Horror Time Capsule by Michael – The Big Comfy Bookshop


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


It’s Point Horror Book Club day!  And what better way to celebrate than delving deep into my love of Point Horror!

I know lots of people who hold Point Horror close to their hearts and one of those people is wonderful Michael the owner of one of my local bookshops the amazing The Big Comfy Bookshop ! I got talking to Michael on twitter when he was talking about Point Horror so I asked him to stop by for a little Point Horror Guest Post to share some Point Horror memories and he kindly agreed.

It’s very exciting to have Michael here on Tales…I feel very honoured…so thank you so much Michelle!

*Hands microphone to Michael*


The Point Horror Time Capsule

I own a bookshop. It’s comfy and sells just 2nd hand books. You’d expect that I’ve been reading books since before I could walk. Here’s the secret. I didn’t really start reading a lot until I started University. Sure there were books I read when I was younger, The Hobbit stands out as one. There was however one book series, and one book in particular that I loved.

Point Horror.

Here’s another secret. Between my elder sister and I we had about a dozen of them, plus we took a few home each week from the mobile library, but, and here’s the rub, I never really read them. What I liked about them was the covers, and the spines; A beheaded snowman, an open door, a lost teddy. I wanted to be part of the movement, and it was a movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At my high school it seemed every girl had at least one on the go. And it did always seem to be girls. Finally, after listening to my sister talk about them endlessly, I picked up The Babysitter and read it over a few nights, maybe a few weeks, I can’t remember. What I do recall is the sensation of ‘getting it’. Not just Point Horror, but the sense of belonging to something. Knowing that there was a sequel, I delved straight into The Babysitter II. I reckon I liked that more, I can’t recall, but I soon shifted up a gear and consumed them like Pringles (once you pop).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was given the chance of buying my own Point Horror book so I opted for The Mall, purely based on the cover. I like green, it looked cool, and, most importantly, I hadn’t seen anyone else read it. Suddenly I noticed girls at school coming up to me to talk about the book. I stayed in at lunchtime instead of going out to kick a ball about. I’d gotten the bug.

Like a time capsule, each book cover of the series recalls the moment in life I was at, rather than what happened inside the pages. Like Pogs and Push-Pops, Point Horror has a firm stamp on my youth and am always delighted when a copy travels through my bookshop.


About The Big Comfy Bookshop

Name: Michael

Role At The Shop: Owner, general operation mastermind

Favourite Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Likes: Books and music

Dislikes: Amazon, Kindles, Spiders and The Future

The bookshop is my home away from home, and as its owner, my fingers are in all the pies. If there’s an event going on at the shop, I’m usually the man both behind the scenes and up front compering. If I’m not in the shop you can usually find me with my head buried in a book or sleeping while standing up. Or both.

You can find out more about the Big Comfy Bookshop on their website – www.thebigcomfybookshop.co.uk

Or why not follow them on twitter- @bigcomfybooks


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?

For all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new click here

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

*claps hands excitedly*

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

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Tales Post – Pick-Up-A-Book-Read-At-Least-Half-And-Then-Put-It-Down-I-Tus


Today I have a rather honest post and, if I’m completely truthful, I am quite embarrassed about the subject matter, but I really wanted to share this not only for myself, but in case it helps others who are maybe experiencing the same issues or feelings in any way.

So here goes…..

According to my Goodreads account which I started the back end of 2014 I read….

63 books in 2015

&

37 books in 2016

I openly admitted that I was disappointed in my reading last year in 2016. Although by my own admission I had not kept track properly of everything I read so at the start of this year, 2017, I was all set and raring to go!  Books in order on my shelves.  Exciting proof copies ready to be read.  Debut authors to discover along the way with firm favourite authors with exciting books coming out that I simply had to get me hands on.

2017 was going to be my best reading year yet!

And then I caught it!  That rare thing that seems to happen every now and again.  Only this has stuck with me nearly all year…..

Pick-Up-A-Book-Read-At-Least-Half-And-Then-Put-It-Down-I-Tus

So let me explain a little….

 Its November 2017 and so far this year I have read a grand total of…..

Wait for it……

8 books!

Yes that’s right!  8!

*scoffs at my measly 8*

*hides in complete embarrassment*

Recently I’ve been looking at this evil number 8 and reflecting on why this has exactly happened.  I’ve been busy in my personal life with work, family and fitness more this year and have had my fair few reading slumps where the last thing I wanted to do was pick up a book, but I hit the nail on the head whilst talking to a friend this week.

I have a case of Pick-Up-A-Book-Read-At-Least-Half-And-Then-Put-It-Down-I-Tus or as it is more commonly known the actual inability to finish an actual book!

*shrieks in horror*

Without realising it and whilst I have been punishing myself for my number 8 I have been starting books and not actually finishing them.  There on my shelf were gorgeous books full of curious worlds with brightly coloured decorated book marks sticking out of the top of them.  They were literally sitting there waiting to welcome me back into their pages where I had left characters in the midst of an adventure, running away from danger, falling in love or even going through their own trials and tribulations.   I added how many of these I could find scattered around my bedroom and office…..29!

29 books that I have actually started reading and then never went back to.  Not because the books were bad or awful, but because I appear to be unable to finish an actual book!

For someone who normally has a one book at a time rule this is just shocking!

What am I even doing?!

Why has this happened?!

Who even am I?

I’m such a blogging let down!

All of these questions have been running around my mind more than once or twice this year and causing me to retreat further and further away from books even though I know they give me such solace and love in their individual ways.

So what on earth happened?  It could be the distraction of shiny new books in my possession or the fact that things have been busy or do I really have some underliying issue with actually finishing a book.  It could be a number of these things or, as I’ve come to realise, a combination of all of the above.  For the past few weeks more than ever I’ve been beating myself up about just that, my inability to actually pick something up and actually finish it.  And thinking about my number 8 has just made it all worse in my head.  I have been beating myself up about it and in turn added to my list of reasons for all of this.  Pressure is never a good thing really is it?

I sat down to write this as a kind of talking to myself to get it out of my system kind of post to help with the fact that I feel so ashamed of everything to do with my reading this year, but whilst writing this I realised that 8 and 29 are just a number.  It’s as simple as that.  It does not take away the fact that I have supported and showcased amazing authors and books on my blog or the fact that those 8 books I have read have been great books that I have enjoyed from page to page.  I’m telling myself whilst typing this that it’s actually okay.  It’s okay to have had a bad reading year and it’s okay to be able to put a book down and come back to it another time when the timing is better or you’re not so tired and just want to binge watch Stranger Things in your PJ’s.

It’s okay to still be passionate about something and not feel like a complete failure because of your inability to actually finish a book for example!  Those books will still be there with their stories and glorious worlds and unforgettable characters in the future.

So I am taking a big deep breath and starting a new page where a number is just a number and a good book can be the absolute best cure.  But most of all I am saying that it’s okay to have not read as many books as everyone else or that I am going to completely fail my Goodreads challenge this year.  Sometimes it’s the little things that count even if that’s a little number.

So to me when I am reading this back or to anyone that is feeling the same as me this year or any other year in the years to come…..it’s okay.  Take your time.  Enjoy new things.  Take the pressure off a little.  But most of all don’t worry about your number or how little you feel you are reading or doing.  Even a couple of pages a night is better than nothing at all, but if that’s not even possible then that’s totally fine too.  You are amazing and totally not defined by the number of books you read every year.  Characters and worlds will always be waiting with open arms whenever you are ready.

*Hugs*

 

 

 

Spotlight – Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller


Today I am super excited to be part of the #Otherworld blog tour where I am sharing a thrilling extract and exciting giveaway!

Otherworld was released on the 31st October published by Rock The Boat and is set to me one addictive thrilling read!

So sit back and relax and enter the Otherworld……


“Full of high stakes, thrillers, and fantastic twists and turns, fans of Ready Player One are sure to love this addictive read.” ―BUZZFEED

Welcome to real life 2.0. Are you ready to play?

There are no screens. There are no controls. You don’t just see and hear it – you taste, smell, and touch it too. In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break. You can live your best life.
    It’s a game so addictive you’ll never want it to end. Until you realize that you’re the one being played.
    Step into Otherworld. Leave your body behind.

The frightening future that Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have imagined is not far away. Otherworld asks the question we’ll all soon be asking: if technology can deliver everything we want, how much are we willing to pay?

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


Otherworld – Extract

“Hey, crazy!” someone shouts. I recognize the voice. It belongs to a girl from school. “What the hell are you doing?”

“What does it look like?” I call out. “I’m getting a tan.”“Put some clothes on, you pervert!” shouts a second voice. “Nobody wants to see your hairy butt cheeks, Simon,” screams a third. I open my eyes a crack and see three girls from school hanging out of a car. One of them is already tapping away at her phone. Their friends will be arriving soon.

My butt cheeks aren’t quite as furry as they’ve been made out to be, and apparently lots of people would like to see them, because the traffic on my street goes nuts for the next thirty minutes.

I don’t pay any attention to the hoots and catcalls. Crossing ice fields and getting blown to smithereens for hours on end was exhausting. I got about five hours of sleep, but I’ll need more if I want to go back in tonight. I’m just drifting off when I hear a car pull into my drive. A few seconds later, someone’s thrown a jacket over me.

“Get up and get inside.” It’s my mother.

I open my eyes. She’s looming over my chaise, and she’s pissed as hell.

“The people across the street are threatening to phone the police,” she hisses.

“Hi, Mom,” I say with a yawn. “You look stunning this afternoon.”

She does. Her black hair is pulled into a fancy knot, and she’s wearing a silk dress in a very tasteful shade of pale blue. Her painted lips are pressed together beneath her perfect nose.

Now, Simon. Or you’re going to jail.”

I sigh and sit up, tying her jacket around my waist. “Aren’t you overreacting? I’m sure the neighbors will forget all about this unfortunate incident if you let them keep their vulgar roses.”

“Those people are not who you should be worried about,” she says. “My accountant just called to ask if the six-thousand-dollar charge on my AmEx for video game equipment was a business expense. You stole my credit card, Simon. One more word from you and I’m dialing your probation officer.”

This is unexpected. The accountant must be new. The old one didn’t ask questions.

I’m fully clothed and sitting on the living room couch when my father gets home. He’s dressed in Easter egg colors and there’s a nine iron in his hand. Apparently I’ve interrupted a golf game. He walks straight through the room without even acknowledging me. A few minutes later, he’s back, and he’s got my new headset, gloves and booties. He drops them all in a pile on the floor.

I wince when I hear a crack. “Come on, Dad,” I groan. “Do you know how hard it was to get all that stuff? Only a couple thousand of those headsets have even been made. That one’s going to be worth a fortune someday.”

“This heap of crap cost six thousand, three hundred and fifty- six dollars?” he asks.

Not exactly—I bought two sets of gear. I only kept one for myself. “It’s not crap,” I say. “It’s the newest virtual reality technology. I was on a wait list for that headset—”

“So it’s a video game,” my father says. If you didn’t know him, you wouldn’t think he was that angry. But I’ve spent eighteen years with Grant Eaton, and I know all the warning signs. He’s about to blow sky-high.

“It’s revolutionary—”

“It’s over.” He lifts his nine iron over his head and brings it down hard on the equipment. He repeats the same motion at least three dozen times, until his face is bright red and he’s out of breath.

I’m finding it pretty hard to breathe too. My last chance to spend time with Kat is just a pile of plastic shards.

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


About Jason Segel

Jason Segel is an actor, a writer, and an author. Segel wrote and starred in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and co-wrote Disney’s The Muppets, which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. On television, Segel starred on How I Met Your Mother and Freaks and Geeks. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestselling series Nightmares!  Otherworld is his first novel for young adults.

About Kirsten Miller

Kirsten Miller is the author of the acclaimed Kiki Strike books, the New York Times bestseller The Eternal Ones, and How to Lead a Life of Crime. Otherworld is the fifth novel Kirsten has written with Jason Segel.  kirstenmillerbooks.com


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Rock The Boat I have 1 x copy of Otherworld to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 17/11/2017

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Rock The Boat and Nina Douglas for having me on this fab blog tour!

Have you read Otherworld?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Top Five Halloween Reads by Chris Priestley


Halloween may be over for another year *cries* but fear not I have a spooky post Halloween treat for you today!

I am super excited to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Curse Of The Werewolf Boy by Chris Priestley.

Curse Of The Werewolf boy was released on the 5th October published by Bloomsbury and is a fantastic MG read to really sink your teeth into!

Today Chris shares his top 5 Halloween reads in this fab guest post….


Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom­laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?

Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.


Top Ten Halloween Reads

I could list dozens of books that would make good reading for Halloween. I spent much of my teens and twenties reading uncanny and unsettling stories of one kind or another – which is why I ended up writing the Tales of Terror series and many other works designed to disturb.

I realise Halloween has now become bound up with a more violent side of horror, but I’m here to champion old school chills. These are some of the stories and writers that inspired me to write chillers myself.

The Ash Tree – MR James

I could have chosen any M R James story, I suppose, but The Ash Tree came to mind for various reasons. It has a witch in it, for one thing – and that seems appropriate for Halloween – but it is also very creepy. If you don’t like spiders you may want to give it a miss, but then again, you will undoubtedly find it troubling (and after all, it is meant to unsettle). If you have a tree with branches tapping against your windows, you may want to get the tree surgeon in before you read this.

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

Not the Woman in Black again, I hear you yell. It’s always in people’s top creepy reads. Yes it is. But there’s a very good reason for that. It’s really hard to write a creepy novel – a properly creepy novel. Susan Hill is our greatest living exponent of it. The Woman in Black is pitch perfect. It pulls us into the story by gently making us care about Arthur Kripps as he journey’s to the bleak Jamesian east coast town of Crythin Gifford.

The location is fantastic and in the Woman in Black we have one of the iconic ghosts of horror fiction. If you think you know it because you’ve seen the film, think again. The book is far, far superior. This is the kind of story that needs to be read to work its magic. Rent yourself a lonely cottage by the sea and scare yourself silly.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

I saw the 1960s film adaptation – The Haunting – before I read the novel. The film is great but the book is something else. Following on from Edgar Allan Poe’s attempt to make the house itself a character in the Fall of the House of Usher, Shirley Jackson makes Hill House a ‘living’ and malevolent force in the story. It is a really strange and claustrophobic book, best read in as close to one sitting as possible, I think.

The Shining – Stephen King

I was very snooty about Stephen King when I was young, despite having friends who were fans. The first book I read of his was Misery and I was a little underwhelmed. But Carrie and The Shining are great. Once again, The Shining plays with that idea of the house itself being the monster. The Overlook Hotel in the Rockies is another great location – so important in a good ghost story. The narrative shifts mainly between Danny, the boy with telepathic abilities – ‘the shining’ – and his deeply flawed father, Jack, an aspiring writer who has taken a job as caretaker. He and his wife will be snowed in over winter and cut off from the outside world. A really affecting – and scary – story that has compelling characters at its heart.

Ringing the Changes – Robert Aickman

I discovered Robert Aickman relatively recently. Or rather I registered his name only relatively recently. I actually have a few of his stories in various collections. Faber have recently reissued all his stories in several handsome looking books. I am still working my way through them. They are too rich to consume in great chunks, so I read them one at a time and savour them. Most of the ones I have read are deeply strange and genuinely nightmarish – like having an access all areas pass to a very disturbed mind.

Ringing the Changes has quite a Jamesian set-up on the face of it. A couple arrive at an East Anglian coastal town and the bells of all the churches start ringing – and ringing and ringing and ringing. But it’s like James after a bad night. The characters are edgy and unpleasant and the story is, like so much of Aickman, genuinely unhinged.

You can buy a copy of Curse Of The Werewolf Boy here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads list here


About Chris Priestley


Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

You can find out more about Chris on his website – www.chrispriestleybooks.com

Or why not follow Chris on Twitter – @crispriestley

Or Facebook and Instagram


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Chris for such a fab post and to Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Curse Of The Werewolf Boy?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  What are your favourite Halloween reads?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Growing Up With Point Horror by Michelle Harrison


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


It’s Halloween!  And what better way to celebrate than delving deep into my love of Point Horror!

I know lots of people who hold Point Horror close to their hearts and one of those people is wonderful author Michelle Harrison ! I got talking to Michelle on twitter when she was talking about Point Horror so I asked her to stop by for a little Point Horror Guest Post to share some Point Horror memories and she kindly agreed.

It’s very exciting to have Michelle here on Tales…I feel very honoured…so thank you so much Michelle!

*Hands microphone to Michelle*


Growing Up With Point Horror

I vividly remember my first ‘Point Horror’ book. It was Funhouse, by Diane Hoh, and I was around thirteen years old. My friend had loaned it from the library and told me to read it. From the first page, I was sucked in. Gone, hooked. A ‘Point Horror’ addict.

A voracious reader, I’d grown up reading my grown up sisters’ hand-me-down books, and listening to stories from their own imaginations. While I read for pleasure constantly, my choice was limited as we didn’t have much money for new books. Therefore, the majority of what I read growing up was by Enid Blyton, with a bit of variation from whatever I was reading at school. As I approached my teens I’d begun to start leaving these books behind in favour of magazines such as Just Seventeen. I was also the slightly kooky one in my group who, at sleepovers, would push to rent films from the horror section, while my friends preferred romantic comedies.

Funhouse was a revelation to me. A fast-paced, heart-thumping whodunnit in which Tess and her friends are being terrorised by someone hellbent on revenge for a past wrong which is gradually revealed in a diary at intervals throughout the book. The ending (and the villain) came as a complete shock to me. I LOVED it. Before then, I never knew horror for teens existed. I’d read and enjoyed Carrie, but found myself unable to get into Stephen King’s lengthier works. Funhouse was short, snappy, and about teens not much older than myself. Better still, I then discovered there were more! So began a new routine: every Saturday I’d get my pocket money, head to Dillons book shop in Lakeside, and buy two or three new ‘Point Horror’ titles which would then be devoured through the week. I amassed dozens – close to a hundred, I believe – titles, keeping them all pristine much to my sisters’ amusement. After a sad fate suffered by Dream Date, I only lent them to trusted people whom I knew wouldn’t crease the covers or crack the spines!

For me, the ‘Point Horror’ books had it all: from poison pen letters, to being followed home, butchered pets, creepy phone calls and of course, a generous helping of murder. There were even a few nasty little rhymes: Teacher’s pet, teacher’s pet . . . you’re going to die, but not just yet. What the strongest ones had were great twists, unexpected villains and even greater motives. There were faked deaths, crazy adopted brothers, unhinged love interests, and of course, the unreliable narrator . . .

While Funhouse is always the one that sticks in my mind like a first love, there were several firm favourites: The Hitchhiker, with its iconic cover, dreamy bad boy, James, and a killer twist; Trick or Treat ‒ because houses with murderous pasts and secret crawl spaces are ALWAYS interesting; Beach House with its history repeating itself theme and a killer who seems to disappear ‘as completely as footprints in the sand’. Others stick in my mind for being utterly bonkers: the aforementioned Dream Date (girl meets too-good-to-be-true aka possessive psycho while she sleeps), along with The Perfume (a fragrance called Venom which unleashes our good girl protagonist’s baaaaad side).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I must also mention the appeal of location in these books. Growing up on a council estate in Essex, this series, set in various parts the USA, was hugely exciting and exotic to me. From the swampy heat of Florida’s Key West in The Hitchhiker to the sun-soaked sands in Beach Party and The Lifeguard, they transported me away to new and thrilling (and murderous) places. In addition, I have always been a little sad when asked to Americanise my own books for US readers, because I learned quite a bit from the ‘Point Horrors’ about US language and culture, for example, ‘bangs’ being what the British call a ‘fringe’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crucially, the ‘Point Horrors’ bridged the gap between my childhood and adulthood, which is when many readers are lost. My sisters and Enid Blyton may have made me a reader, but this series kept me reading. Are they great works of literature? Perhaps not, but they sure as heck were entertaining, and exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. A time when I began to explore writing as a possible career path. And if there was one thing Point Horror taught me, it was that if I could suspend my disbelief enough for the likes of a story about a murderous perfume, then perhaps the idea of myself as a future published author wasn’t so crazy after all.


About Michelle Harrison

Michelle Harrison is a former Waterstone’s bookseller and assistant editor for Oxford University Press. She now writes full-time. Originally from Grays in Essex, she has a degree in Illustration and lives in Oxfordshire. Her first novel, THE THIRTEEN TREASURES, won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and has sold into seventeen other countries as well as the UK.

It is followed by two sequels, THE THIRTEEN CURSES and THE THIRTEEN SECRETS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle is also the author of UNREST, a ghost story for young adults. She is currently working on a new novel for teen readers.

You can find out more about Michelle on her website – www.michelleharrisonbooks.com

Or why not follow Michelle on twitter – @MHarrison13


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?

For all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new click here

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

*claps hands excitedly*

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

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Guest Post – I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA by Anne Cassidy


Today I am honoured to have the brilliant Anne Cassidy on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate one of my most anticipated end of 2017 releases, No Shame.

I recently featured No Shame as a book I was hugely excited about over on W H Smth blog here

No Shame was released on the 19th October 2017 published by Hot Key and is a companion novel to Cassidy’s previous novel No Virgin and explores the gruelling process one young woman must go through to bring her rapist to justice which I have heard Anne was moved to write after reading about the real-life cases of Ched Evans, Brock Turner and the Bradford grooming ring. No Shame is sure to be a thought provoking read.

Today Anne talks to us about why teenage friendships are important in YA in this fab guest post….


The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.


I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA

I focus on friendship in almost every book I write. As a teenager, friendship was everything to me. I was an only child and my need for companionship was greater than those kids who had brothers and sisters. Consequently, I was hungry for a best friend and the close friendships I had helped me get through some difficult times. When they ended, I was devastated. My novel No Virgin follows the main character Stacey Woods as her world collapses when she thinks her best friend, Patrice, is lying to her. These feelings of isolation make her feel vulnerable and easy prey to a boy who is sweet and nice to her. Sadly, this nice sweet boy eventually leads to Stacey being attacked. In the sequel No Shame, it’s Patrice, among others, who support her through the trial.

For young children, having a friend is the first step outside the safety of the family. When they go outside that warm base, they are at the mercy of other people’s whims, likes and dislikes. It’s a challenge and can be brilliant if they find the right friend; but it doesn’t always end happily.

During teenage years, it is absolutely crucial to have good friends. Relationships with the family are changing: the need for privacy and room to develop are important and teenagers lean on other kids who are going through the same thing. In No Virgin, after Stacey has been raped, she doesn’t go to the police and she doesn’t go to her parents. She waits until she can tell Patrice. Patrice is a dominant person in Stacey’s life and Stacey adores her. She is Stacey’s support and lifeline. I admire the work of rape prevention charities like Safeline, whose research shows that this is reflected in real life. Victims of abuse often don’t go to parents or teachers, or even the police. The friend is the first person many victims speak to, making them an essential part of that person’s life and case.

This has its own problems. In the case of Stacey, she leans on Patrice too much. She has to face a court case on her own and make decisions that don’t include Patrice. She gets advice, but in the end it has to be her who takes that step forward. It’s only when Stacey hardens up and steps away from Patrice that she is able to stand on her own two feet. Friendships change and grow over time, just like people. I felt it was important in these books to write a friendship that evolves and goes through its own struggles. But at its core is loving and supportive- something everyone needs.

Teenage friendship is important in these difficult years. But being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial. Just as the warm family base gives the confidence to reach outside and find friends so the comfort of close friends allows the teenager to stride out into the adult world and be themselves.

Anne Cassidy is the author of No Shame (Hot Key Books, 19th October)

You can buy a copy of No Shame here or from your local bookshop


About Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy was born in London in 1952. She was an awkward teenager who spent the Swinging Sixties stuck in a convent school trying, dismally, to learn Latin. She was always falling in love and having her heart broken. She worked in a bank for five years until she finally grew up. She then went to college before becoming a teacher for many years. In 2000 Anne became a full-time writer, specialising in crime stories and thrillers for teenagers. In 2004 LOOKING FOR JJ was published to great acclaim, going on to be shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Prize and the 2005 Carnegie Medal. MOTH GIRLS, published in 2016, was nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2017 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

You can find out more about Anne on her website – www.annecassidy.com

Or follow Anne on Twitter: @annecassidy6


A huge thank you to Anne for such a fab post and to Rachel from Midas  for asking me to host!

Have you read any of No Shame or No Virgin?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest


Today I am over the moon to be shining the spotlight on a new gorgeous Christmassy historical adult fiction book, Christmas At Woolworths by Elaine Everest.

Christmas At Woolworths was released on the 2nd November published by Pan Macmillan and is set to get you in the Christmas mood.

So today I am shining the spotlight on this fab book and fab author in a spotlight post….


About The Book

Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love . . . Until a mysterious stranger turns up one day – could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead . . . 

With so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

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

Or why not add it to your Goodreads shelf here


About Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novel The Woolworths Girls and The Butlins Girls was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students.

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors as well as Slimming World where she can been sitting in the naughty corner.

You can find out more about Elaine on her Facebook page – here

Or why not follow Elaine on twitter – @elaineeverest


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 Faye Rogers for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of Christmas At Woolworths?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  What books do you like reading in the run up to Christmas?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Top Tips For Aspiring Horror Writers by Danny Weston


It’s almost Halloween and what better way to celebrate than with a spooky blog tour for a brilliant creepy book!

Scarecrow by Danny Weston was released on the 5th October 2017 pubished by Andersen Press and is set to keep you wide awake with fear as the dark nights are drawing in!

“A terrifying, historical horror story from the winner of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Award.”

“The perfect Halloween read for fans of Darren Shan, Joseph Delaney & Stephen Cole.”

Today I have the man himself sharing some fab tips for aspiring horror writers in this fab guest post….


Jack and his dad are runaways. Jack’s father recently turned whistleblower, revealing the truth about the illicit dealings of some powerful people. Realising that he and Jack might be in danger, Dad drives them to a remote shooting lodge in the Scottish Highlands, where they intend to lay low.

In the cornfield beside the lodge stands a scarecrow. When Jack witnesses something incredible, he begins to realise that it is no ordinary scarecrow – it is alive, hungry and fuelled by rage. And when Dad’s enemies begin to converge on the lodge, the scarecrow might just turn out to be Jack’s best hope of survival.


Top Tips For Aspiring Horror Writers

Hi. Danny Weston here. My new book Scarecrow is now available.

The good people who run this blog have asked me to put together my top tips for aspiring horror writers. Here they are:

1.

Don’t ‘show’ too much. Remember that people are more frightened by what they don’t see than by what they do see.

2.

Make sure the eerie happenings are seen through the eyes of your characters. ‘Show Don’t Tell.’ The three most important words for any writer of fiction. When a writer tells us about something happening, it loses so much. When we see it exactly as the characters in the book see it, then it comes alive.

3.

Description is key. When something happens, you must paint a picture with words. Describe a thing in detail so your reader can picture it in their heads.

4.

Keep up the pace. Don’t linger too long on one particular scene. I think of books as ‘head movies. Always be ready to cut away and move on to the next scene.

5.

If you write a ghost story, never use the G Word. The word I’m referring to here is ‘ghost!’ Once you name it as that, it’s no longer a threat. Same goes for the V Word and the Z Word. Just say what you see and let the reader decide what that is.

6.

Never give your characters an easy ride! They must be conflicted from the start. Give them problems to solve and hardships to overcome.

7.

Never be afraid to rewrite a scene. Every time you do, it will get better.

8.

And don’t forget to have fun with what you’re writing. If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing it will show. Readers can be very unforgiving. Keep them hooked right to the very end!

You can buy a copy of Scarecrow here or from your local book shop!


About Danny Weston

Danny Weston is an author for children and young adults. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife. In 2016, he won the Scottish Children’s Book Award for The Piper, and in 2017 his novel The Haunting of Jessop Rise won the Hillingdon Libraries’ Primary Book of the Year Award. When he’s not writing, Danny can be found visiting schools to talk about what it’s like to be an author. In October 2017, Danny will be embarking on a Halloween school tour to celebrate to release of Scarecrow.


Blog Tour

Catch up for follow the rest of this spooky blog tour at the following stops or check out the hashtag #scarecrowbook


A huge thank you to Danny for a fab guest post and to Harriett at Andersen Press for asking me to host.

Have you read any of Scarecrow?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Do you have any horror writing tips?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Riddles by Lari Don


I am super excited to have the wonderful Lari Don on Tales today to celebrate the release of the final thrilling instalment of thie spellbinding Spellchasers trilogy!

The first two Spellchasers books left thousands of captivated readers waiting to discover what happens to heroine Molly and friends. Now, their fate is revealed in Spellchasers: The Witches Guide To Magical Combat which was released on the 17th August 2017 published by Floris Books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And today I have the lady herself, Lari Don, with a faboulous guest post about riddles…..


Molly’s shape-shifting curse is getting stronger and more unpredictable. As they search for a stone that can curb the Promise Keeper’s powers, the team faces a blizzard of powerful threats. Can they bring balance to the magical world, defeat the creatures that pursue them and finally break Molly’s curse? Or will darkness triumph over friendship? Taking her inspiration from traditional folklore and legends, Lari Don has imagined the Speyside landscape of her childhood as a world of magic and adventure – complete with shapeshifters, witches and a variety of mythical creatures.


Riddles

I’ve always loved riddles.

I love words, but I also love maths. (I was the person who bounced out of maths exams saying ‘That was fun!’, thereby earning the eternal hatred of everyone in earshot…)

I love riddles because they use words, but they also have the logic and precision of mathematics. A riddle is like a maths problem dressed in a poem, leading beautifully and inexorably towards one and only one correct solution.

But if you don’t like maths or poetry, that’s fine. Because riddles also involve monsters and death!

In many of my favourite traditional tales, being able to answer a riddle (or sometimes ask a riddle) is the only way to save yourself from being eaten by a sphinx, or decapitated by an angry royal.

So, riddles can be fun to play with, but might also be a life-saving skill if you’re planning to star in any fairy tales or go on any quests…

I use riddles in almost all of my adventure books. The riddles in my first series, the Fabled Beast Chronicles, were asked by a variety of magical beings, including a ancient book, an Irish warrior, a mountainous dragon, and a committee of mermaids and selkies.

But in my most recent series, the Spellchasers trilogy, I wanted to get more personal with my riddles, not just have them as obstacles. So I included a sphinx in my team of young magical beings on a curse-lifting workshop, and I decided to curse him to lose his riddle. That gave me the chance to put riddles in the story, but also gave the riddling an extra emotional punch.

I create new riddles for the novels, partly because I enjoy making up riddles and partly because I weave the questions and the solutions into the fabric of the plot.

The answers to most of the riddles are connected, either directly or indirectly, to the wider narrative. But I also write the riddles with the character dynamics in mind, how they will discuss and debate and argue about the answer. Writing a riddle for a novel isn’t just about the problem and the solution, it’s also about the journey between the two.

I write all my riddles with my younger daughter. She is an incredible riddle master, with a very precise and sneaky mind. We start with the logic of the puzzle (it involves lots of lists and scribbling) then we craft the clues into a structure of a riddle – it doesn’t have to rhyme, but it’s nice if it has a bit of rhythm – and then we test the draft riddle on my older daughter, to see if she finds it too easy (cut out a clue), too hard (add another clue) or comes up with another answer entirely (in which case, we need to put in a line which makes that answer impossible… )

I also love to run riddle-writing workshops for young writers. (Though at the last workshop, the kids wanted to write a riddle about a spider, which was a difficult half hour for this arachnophobe…)  One of the greatest pleasures of sharing riddles with kids is that they are usually much better at solving them than adults!

So, now that I’ve written to the end of my sphinx’s adventure, the next problem to solve is: how can I weave riddles into my next adventure?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spellchasers trilogy is available and out now

You can grab your copies here or from your local bookshop


About Lari Don

Lari Don is a full-time children’s writer and storyteller. She grew up in the North East of Scotland and now lives in Edinburgh. She writes in her garden shed, helped by purring cats and hindered by lurking spiders. Lari has written more than 20 books, including adventure novels, picture books and retellings of traditional tales.

You can find out more about Lari on her website – www.laridon.co.uk

Or why not follow Lari on her twitter – @LariDonWriter


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Lari for a fab guest post and to Sarah at Floris Books for asking me to host.

Have you read any of the Spellchasers Trilogy?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Do you love riddles?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

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