Tales Review – Fun Science by Charlie McDonnell


I’ve recently received this super fun book, Fun Science by Charlie McDonnell AKA Charlieissocoollike from the lovely Stephanie at Midas PR.

Charlie McDonnell is the first UK Youtuber to reach 1 million subscribers and his aim in writing Fun Science is to share his love of the subject, create new fans, and show that science is an integral part of everyday life, not just a subject you are forced to take at school.

Fun Science was released on the 20th October 2016 in hardback published by Quadrille Publishing and is pretty awesome.

So today I thought I would shine the spotlight on the book and it’s author and share some of my initial thoughts on the book……


Welcome, fellow humans (and others), to the world of FUN SCIENCE! I’m Charlie, also known across the internet as charlieissocoollike.

In my book, I’ll be taking you on an awesome journey through the cosmos, beginning with the Big Bang through to the Solar System and the origins of life on Earth, all the way down to the particles that make up everything around us (including you and me!).

Expect frequent digressions, tons of illustrations of not-so-sciencey things (NB a microwave flying through space), and pages packed with my all time favourite mind-bending science facts.

So, get ready for a faster-than-the-speed of-light (OK, not quite) tour of all of the best and most interesting things that science has to offer us… and most importantly: WELCOME TO THE UNIVERSE!

(Written by a Science Fan NOT a scientist!)

Publisher – Quadrille Publishing

Published – 20th October 2016

Pages – 256 pages

Format – PHardback

Category – Non Fiction

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful people at Midas PR. This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Midas PR for sending this to me to read and to Stephanie for organising!

** Please note Tales Of Yesterday Reviews are written as spoiler free as possible**

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first saw this book.  I raise my hand up high and admit that I had not heard of Charlie prior to the book, but my 11 year old son had and sometimes watches his videos.

I found myself flicking through the pages, firstly to have a quick look and then becoming fully engrossed.

The book is split into ten sections ranging from The Universe to Life to The Brian and The End Of Time.  It is full of wonderful illustrations by Fran Meneses and Dave Brown and they bring Charlie’s words to life on the page.

The science is relayed with humour and in such a fun style that it really does make what your reading and learning seem fun.  The fact that clownfish can switch sex in order to breed is told with an aside about Nemo and his dad and geologists are dubbed Super Rock detectives (because geology  is cool!)

The book has fun facts and ultimate fun facts throughout and also includes some activities and mini experiments throughout.  Myself and my son had numerous fun trying an experiment involving our right leg and drawing a number six with our right arm!

Our minds were blown!

Charlie’s love for all things science shines brightly and he guides you through each section like he is excited to share things with you along the way.

It’s bright, it’s colourful, it’s full of facts and most of all it does what it says on the tin….it makes science fun!

Loved it!

I award this book 5 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!


61jrask1fql-_sx332_bo1204203200_You can buy a copy of Fun Science here or from your local bookshop

This video chats a bit more about how Charlie write Fun Science….

About Charlie McDonnell


Charlie McDonnell (known on YouTube as charlieissocoollike) is a British Video Blogger, Filmmaker and Musician from Bath, who currently resides in London.

After starting to post YouTube videos in 2007, Charlie became the first Video Blogger in the UK to reach one million subscribers on YouTube. His most viewed video is of him doing a bad american accent (he’s not sure why that happened) and his second most viewed video is “Duet With Myself,” which he’s a bit more proud of, honestly.

In 2010 Charlie released his first album, “This Is Me.” People seem to really want him to make more music but he hasn’t gotten around to that yet. Throughout 2013-14, Charlie made a series of four short films, funded directly by YouTube. He likes to think they got better as he made more of them, but is happy for you to disagree with him on that.

Over the years, Charlie has worked on numerous projects for charities, including Cancer Research UK, UNICEF, Children In Need, Comic Relief, Save The Children and the Alzheimer’s Society. I guess he must like helping people or something.

Beyond his own YouTube channel, Charlie has worked on many online video projects, notably “Science of Attraction,” hosted by Derren Brown, and a series of video blogs from behind the scenes of Doctor Who for the BBC. He’s also worked with many brands to produce videos for his own channel, including Microsoft, Sony Pictures, Pixar, Disney, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Charlie is a regular participant in Radio 1’s Internet Takeover show (yes, for the actual radio) and he’s also tried his hand at voice acting for Mike Bithell’s upcoming video game “Volume.” He’s pretty new to both of these things, but fortunately hasn’t been told off for doing a bad job by his bosses. Yet.

In his spare time Charlie enjoys consuming media in all its forms, and hanging out with his girlfriend and their cat, Gideon. Basically, he is deceptively boring.

You can find out more about Charlie on his website – charliemcdonnell.com 

Or why not follow Charlie on twitter – @coollike

And subscribe to Charlie’s channel here

A huge thank you to Stephanie at Midas PR for sending me a copy of this book!

Have you read Fun Science?  Does it sound up your street?  Do you have any fun science facts?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – Favourite Fictional Worlds by Andy Briggs



Today I am super excited to have the super talented Andy Briggs on Tales again, this time to celebrate the release of the second book in The Inventory series, Gravity!

Gravity was released on the 6th October 2016 published in paperback by Scholastic and is set to be a brilliant MG Sci-fi sequel to Iron Fist which was released earlier this year.


You can find a previous guest post with Andy Briggs telling is all about a day in the life of an author here

So sit back and relax and read all about Andy Brigg’s favourite fictional worlds…..


Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far!

Favourite Fictional Worlds

Dipping a toe into another world is my idea of relaxing. To walk in another’s shoes through uncharted territory is as close to an explorer I’m likely to become. With a huge range of wilder lands out there, I thought I’d take you into a few of my favourite realms.

Enter Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. The flat land, balanced on the back of four giant elephants soaring though space on an enormous turtle. What is there not to like? I have a complete set of Discworld books and they remain a treat to dip into every now and again. While it echoes our familiar world, with the parody dialled up to eleven, that is not quite what lures me to this exotic land. I enjoy seeing how Discworld evolved from the first book, The Colour of Magic. Ignoring the wonderful characters and stories, it’s a real treat to see how Sir Terry refined the world with each subsequent book. While I adore Tolkien, there is a feeling that Middle Earth was meticulously planned from the beginning and the stories would never deviate from that path. History had been set. While with Discworld, history evolved with each subsequent story which somehow made me, as a reader, feel as if I was part of the world building.


While on the subject of fantasy worlds, I have always been a fan of Terry Brook’s Shannara series. A wonderful fantasy realm which I encourage you all to check out. That said, my favourite hybrid world of Brook’s comes in the superb Magic Kingdom for Sale, Sold. Love it!


When it comes to futurism and dystopia, there can be none better than William Gibson. The daddy of cyberpunk, Gibson creates not only a terrifying world, but offers insightful glimpses of what technology is actually capable of (and in some instances we are almost there), but also what a world would be like if humanity took a backseat.


I have to drop Star Wars into this list as it is one of the few worlds that has crossed every media – comic, books, films, TV shows, games…. And bathmats. It is such a perfect example of how a new world can be created and populated by countless contributions that span across the fictional world’s history. From relatable characters, such as Luke Skywalker, to those charismatic space pirates we’d all like to be (Solo, of course), Star Wars is, in my mind, the grand-daddy of all fictional worlds.


And that makes me wonder… where do we go next? That is one of the joys of being a writer, but I feel it is a joy that is shared with the reader. When it comes to fictional world building it is the author and reader who, hand-in-hand, make it work. So, where shall we go next?

51aalkwnvml-_sx324_bo1204203200_You can buy a copy of Gravity here or from your local book shop!

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here!

About Andy Briggs


Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events. 

You can find out more about Andy on his website – www.andybriggs.co.uk

Or why not follow him on twitter using – @aBriggswriter

Blog Tour




Monday 17th October

Fiction Fascination & Heather Reviews

Tuesday 18th October

Kirsty Leanne & Emma’s Bookery

Wednesday 19th October

Bookish Outsider & Book Lover Jo

Thursday 20th October

YA Under My Skin & Luna’s Little Library

Friday 21st October

ArtsMum & Wonderfully Bookish

Saturday 22nd October

Library Girl and Book Boy

Sunday 23rd October

An Awfully Big Adventure

Monday 24th October

Tales of Yesterday & YA Yeah Yeah

Tuesday 25th October

It Takes a Woman & Sister Spooky

Wednesday 26th October

Bibliobeth & The Books Bandit

Thursday 27th October

MG Strikes Back & Read it Daddy

Friday 28th October

Snuggling on the Sofa & Live Otherwise

Saturday 29th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Sunday 30th October




A huge thanks to Faye Rogers and Scholastic for having me on this fab tour and sending me a copy of the book and to Andy for such a fab guest post!

You can find a previous guest post with Andy Briggs telling is all about a day in the life of an author here

Have you read any books by Andy Briggs?  Does the Gravity sound up your street?  What are your favourite fictional worlds?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Tales Quiz – Which Character From The Thornthwaite Betrayal by Gareth P Jones Are You?


To celebrate the release of the awesome The Thornthwaite Betrayal by the super Gareth P Jones, which was released yesterday on the 20th October 2016 published by Piccadilly Press I am so excited to welcome the man himself to Tales Of Yesterday again!

*claps hands*

The Thornthwaite Betrayal is an brilliant companion novel to the hugely popular THE THORNTHWAITE INHERITANCE


Today myself and Gareth P Jones have put together a fab quiz where we are asking…

Which Character From The Thornthwaite Inheritance Are You?


Everyone’s favourite murderous twins return in The Thornthwaite Betrayal (Piccadilly Books). After a lifetime of mutual mistrust and devilish plots to take each other’s lives, orphaned twins Ovid and Lorelli Thornthwaite have finally called an end to their on going civil war. They are trying to live normal lives, going to school, making friends, not plotting each other’s demise – that kind of thing.

But when long lost Uncle Harry comes to stay, danger returns to Thornthwaite Manor. A chandelier falls while they are under it … a fire starts in Lorelli’s room… It seems that nowhere is safe. Who could be behind the attacks? Uncle Harry? His French Chef, Beaufort Nouveau? Tom the gardener? Nurse Griddle? Hazel the maid? Or perhaps Ovid is finding it hard to kick his old habits?

As fresh mysteries emerge from within the grounds of the Thornthwaite estate, no one is above suspicion because everyone has a secret in this much-anticipated sequel to cult classic The Thornthwaite Inheritance.


You can buy a copy of The Thornthwaite Betrayal here

Which character are you most like? 

Take the quiz to find out and share your results with us on twitter or leave a comment.

If you cannot see the quiz below click here and scroll down

About Gareth P Jones

Gareth lives in South East London and divides his time between writing books, producing TV programmes, spending time with his wife and son, Herbie, and playing the slightly ludicrous number of stringed instruments in his front room.

His books include two series, The Dragon Detective Agency and Ninja Meerkats. His Standalone books include, The Considine Curse which won the Blue Peter Book of the Year Prize 2012. Space Crime Conspiracy and The Thornthwaite Inheritance, which won the Hounslow Junior Book Award, the Calderdale Book Award, Leicester Children’s Book Award, Sefton Super Reads, Doncaster Book Award, Rotherham Children’s Book Award, and Fantastic Book Award, Lancaster. His most recent book is called Constable & Toop and is a humorous Victorian ghost story.

As well as writing books he also writes songs about each of his books, which he plays on his regular school visits.

You can buy Gareth P. Jones books here

For more information about the wonderful author Gareth P Jones and his other books please visit his website www.garethwrites.co.uk or why not follow him on twitter using @jonesgarethp !

Check out a previous Q&A with Gareth P Jones here

Or catch my previous pirate review and extract of the first in the Steampunk Pirates series, The Leaky Battery Sets Sail – here

A huge thank you to Gareth for playing along and helping to create this quiz!

Have you read any of The Thornthwaite Betrayal?  What did you think?  Have you taken the quiz?  Which character are you?  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 – A Guide To Sophie Someone’s Brussels by Hayley Long


Not only am I part of the brilliant YA Shot team, but I also get to host a brilliant post with a super awesome author who will be appearing at YA Shot!

 I am super excited to have the lovely Hayley Long on Tales today with a wonderful guest post – A Guide To Sophie Someone’s Brussels!

I also have a brilliant giveaway so do check out the bottom of the post!

Hayley will be appearing at YA Shot in Uxbridge on the 22nd October!

yashot2016YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. YA Shot believe in equal access to books and opportunities for all – YA Shot brings UKYA and UKMG authors together to pursue that goal, supporting libraries and young people across the country. At present, YA Shot is a not-for-profit organisation but we’re seeking to become a charity.

YA Shot is a one-day annual festival based in the centre of Uxbridge (London). The 2016 festival will take place on Saturday 22nd October 2016. Around 70 authors are involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre, Waterstone’s Uxbridge and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops. YA Shot is run in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge.

You can buy tickets for YA Shot here

So come along and join in the fun!


A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal – and a very special girl called Sophie.

‘Some stories are hard to tell.
Even to your very best friend.
And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.
But if you bottle them up, you might burst.
So here’s my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.’

Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she’s fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion – and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can’t put it into words. But it’s also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.

SOPHIE SOMEONE is a tale of well-intentioned but stupid parenting, shock, acceptance and, ultimately, forgiveness, written in a brave, memorable and unique language all of its own.

A Guide To Sophie Someone’s Brussels

My most recent novel, Sophie Someone, is set in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.  I knew my story was going to be set in Brussels before I even knew what the story was.  My logic for this was threefold:

  1. I knew the city because – a long time ago – I lived there for a while.
  2. I fell in love with the place.
  3. There just aren’t enough novels set in Brussels. There should be many, many more.  In fact, Brussels Fiction should become a genre of its own:  Bruction, maybe?  Or, actually, maybe not…

So anyway, I decided that Brussels was where Sophie and her family lived and this meant that I ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY had to go back to Brussels for purposes of serious research.  Just to remind myself what it was like.  The first time I went by myself.  The second time – I was very thorough – I went with a friend.  On both trips I took pictures of the locations and sights that would form the backdrop of SOPHIE SOMEONE.

Here they are:  Let’s start with…


This is a street sign for Rue Sans Souci.  Although actually you probably don’t need me to tell you this.  When I was 20-something, I lived just around the corner from Rue Sans Souci but I always secretly wished that I lived on the street itself.  It wasn’t a particularly flashy street or anything.  I just liked its name.  Quite literally, it is No Worries Road.  What a fabulous place to live!  EVERY street should be called No Worries Road in my opinion.  Needless to say, this is where Sophie and her family live.  Ironically, they have a LOT OF WORRIES to contend with.  Life is rarely simple, is it?


Just above is an actual picture of Rue Sans Souci.  I really liked that there was a massive random photo of a boy with his mouth hanging open on the side of a house.  I’m not sure whether this signifies his carefree lack of concerns or whether it is, in fact, a desperate scream of anguish. In my novel, I’m afraid Sophie is more likely to be screaming with anguish.  In fact, she’s so stressed-out, she finds it really hard to speak about what she is going through.  Her family’s muddle is so nuts she can’t even put it into words.  In order to tell us, she invents a coded language so that she can spill the beans on her mum and dad’s misdemeanours without feeling too much guilt.  As I said, life is rarely simple.

And now we come to…


…the Palais de Justice.  Otherwise known as the law courts.  It is ENORMOUS.  Absolutely enormous.  In fact, King Leopold II demolished an entire neighbourhood to build it.  And it seems like it’s still being built because it’s perpetually covered in scaffolding.  This huge building stands on high ground and looms over the entire city.  In Sophie Someone, it is there in the background, reminding the people of the city that wrongdoers will be punished.  Maybe this is why Sophie’s mum develops agoraphobia and is too frightened to leave her flat?

And now for something completely random…


Maybe the presence of the Palais de Justice is having the desired effect?  This is a piece of graffiti I spotted nearby.  It says ‘I love the police – sorry.’  For some reason, this public display of affection made me laugh.  In Sophie Someone, Sophie’s parents do NOT love the police – they are too busy hiding from them!


Above is a picture of Place Flagey.  It is through this square that Sophie walks in the snow to see her friend, Comet.  As she crosses the square, she is intercepted by a group of boys on skateboards who call her names and cause her to question her family loyalties and WHO she really is.  ‘I am Sophie Someone’ she tells them and this soon shuts up the skater-boys.  By any standards, Sophie Someone is a pretty cool name, I think.

Not far from Place Flagey is this place…


This is the beautiful Etangs d’Ixelles – one of several ponds which run alongside a very beautiful street in a particularly gorgeous area of the city.  Sophie’s friend Comet lives just opposite one of these ponds.  Lucky girl!  Mind you, Comet has some serious worries of her own to contend with.  I guess that no street can ever really be a No Worries Road, can it?

And lastly, I couldn’t show you Sophie’s Brussels without showing you….


…the Manneken Pis.  The clue is in the second word!  It’s a very famous statue of a little boy obeying the call of nature.  It’s not an obvious moment to immortalise in stone but then again, that’s probably what I love so much about Brussels.  It’s a bit weird in places and not obviously beautiful, but it’s also unpretentious, honest, down-to-earth and fun.  Actually, it’s one of my favourite places on the planet.



On Saturday 22 of October, I shall be in conversation with Rosie Rowell as part of YA Shot and we’ll be talking about our novels and the journeys of self-discovery that our characters undertake.

Hope to see some of you there!


To celebrate YA Shot, I am giving away a signed copy of ‘Sophie Someone’ and a signed copy of my non-fiction book ‘Being a Girl’ over on Chelley’s twitter here









UK only please.  

Ends 26th October!

About Hayley Long


I was born in Ipswich ages ago and grew up by the sea in Felixstowe.  I had a lot of different jobs before I started writing books.  Amongst other things, I sold shoes, folded sweaters, pulled pints, cleaned tents, guided people through a Tunisian souk, did vague things in various offices, and taught  English in Brussels, London, Cardiff and Norwich.  But for now, I’m devoting myself exclusively to reading and writing.

My first novel for teens was Lottie Biggs is Not Mad.  This was awarded the White Raven Award for exceptional and innovative books for children by the International Youth Library in Munich.  Since then I’ve had lots more books published, been translated into other languages, been nominated for a Costa book award – twice!!! – and been on the news – in a good way.

I live in Norwich with a house rabbit and a husband. The rabbit is pictured left.  The husband prohibits the use of his photo or any other image representing his face on this page.  So a drawing of the back of his head is given on the right.

You can find out more about Hayley and her books on her website – www.hayleylong.org

A huge thank you to Hayley for such a fab blog post and for such a fab giveaway!

You can catch up on the rest of the YA Shot Blog Tour here

Have you read Sophie Someone?  What did you think?  Have you ever been to Brussel’s?  Are you coming to YA Shot?  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!


Guest Post – Graffiti – Valuable Street Art? – Or Antisocial Crime? by Matt Dickinson


I’m super excited to have the brilliant Matt Dickinson on Tales again today, but this time with a fab guest about research for his brand new teen / YA thriller Lie Kill Walk Away.

Lie Kill Walk Away was released on the 6th October in paperback and ebook and looks absolutely fantastic!

I cannot wait to read this book and with today’s guest post I think you will all be intrigued too…..


I check the Range Rover dash. The keys are in there.
The sirens are closing in. There s a police helicopter coming over the hospital

I have to decide. Decide right now. I can keep out of trouble. Not get involved. Just run away through the park and go home and pretend none of this has happened.
Or I can help Becca.

I stare into her eyes. Those deep blue eyes. Just for a split second.
I tell her, get in the car .

Joe and Becca uncover a deadly secret. A lethal bioweapon is about to be unleashed. Millions will suffer a terrible death.

Now they are being hunted down.

And their problems have only just begun …


One of the research topics I got into while I was writing Lie Kill Walk Away was the controversial subject of graffiti. The reason for looking into it was that my character Joe in the book is a graffiti artist who finds himself addicted to the clandestine thrill of putting his art out there on the walls of London.

How many ‘Joe’s are there in the UK? TENS OF THOUSANDS, spending an estimated fifty million pounds a year on their hobby. If you google spray can companies you will find dozens and dozens of companies (with wonderful names like Kobra, Flame, Clash and Montana).

Personally I don’t have a problem with graffiti. In fact I like and admire it. It’s become a part of the urban landscape and ‘taggers’ like Joe are expressing themselves with art in a way that they may not be able to do at school.

The public, however, seem to be split. A yougov.org survey two years ago found that 34% of people who answered the survey agreed that ALL GRAFFITI IS VANDALISM. 58%, however, said that SOME GRAFFITI IS ACCEPTABLE.

Tellingly, only 2% of people said that ALL GRAFFITI IS ACCEPTABLE

Some parts of the world have adopted a ‘zero-tolerance’ stance on graffiti. In New South Wales in Australia, for example, a person under the age of eighteen caught carrying spray-paint cans in public can be fined $440 or receive six months imprisonment … and that’s before they’ve got anywhere near a wall!

The most famous graffiti artist of all time, of course, is Banksy, the elusive street artist whose works can sell for six figure sums at art gallery auctions. Brad Pitt is even a collector of his work!

Banksy is a rare example of a graffiti artist who has gone mainstream. By far the majority are kids like my sixteen- year-old character, Joe, out there every night doing their thing, secretively and permanently on the look out for the cops.

It’s a game of cat and mouse which seems a bit crazy. Why not make graffiti legal on public walls? That might cut down the amount of graffiti on private buildings, right?

Some schools even have graffiti walls … a great idea!


Matt Dickinson’s new book Lie Kill Walk Away is published now by Shrine Bell, an imprint of Vertebrate Publishing.

You can buy a copy here

Check out a previous guest post from Matt – A Tale Of Yesterday…From The Top Of The World by Matt Dickinson

Or Himalayan Megaquake! by Matt Dickinson 

About Matt Dickinson


Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with a passion for climbing and adventure.

During his filmmaking career he has worked as a director/cameraman for National Geographic television, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and Channel 4. His film projects have taken him to Antarctica, Africa and the Himalaya, often in the company of the world’s leading climbers and expeditioners.

His most notable film success was Summit Fever in which Matt reached the summit of Everest via the treacherous north face. His book The Death Zone tells the true story of that ascent and has become a bestseller in many different countries.

Matt is currently Patron of Reading at Lady Manners School in Bakewell and continues to climb and explore. In January 2013 he summitted Mount Aconcagua, which at 6,965 metres is the highest peak in the world outside the Himalaya. Currently, he is planning an ascent of Denali in Alaska, one of the ‘Seven Summits’.

Recently Matt has started writing fiction for teenage readers. His debut thriller series Mortal Chaos was well received by critics and readers alike. Matt followed this up with the first of three The Everest Files books, which has proven to be very popular. North Face is the hotly anticipated second title in the trilogy.

When he’s not writing, Matt tours the UK, speaking at schools and colleges and inspiring a new generation of adventurers.

You can find out more about Matt by visiting his website here

Blog Tour

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


Another huge huge thank you to Matt for a fab guest post and to Lorna at Vertebrate Publishing for organising!

Check out a previous guest post from Matt – A Tale Of Yesterday…From The Top Of The World by Matt Dickinson

You catch another blog post by Matt about the Himalayan Megaquake here

Are you a Matt Dickinson fan?  Have you read any of the Lie Kill Walk Away or any of Matt’s other books?  What did you think?  Has this guest post intrigued you?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – Lost In A World Of Ghosts, Werewolves And Monsters by Caroline Busher


I’m so excited to have been asked to feature an intriguing guest post for this new atmospheric children’s book set in 1848 in a time when magic and ghosts exist.

The Ghosts Of Magnificent Children was released on the 26th September in paperback and ebook and looks absolutely fantastic!

A review from Puplex on Amazon says –

“A dark and atmospheric fairy tale with a Grimm setting and a cast straight out of a Tim Burton movie. I particularly loved Ginny and her special ability. Original magic realism for kids. An impressive debut!”

I cannot wait to read this book and with today’s guest post I think you will all be intrigued…..


The year is 1848. It is a time when magic and ghosts exist. Four Magnificent Children are captured by Badblood’s Circus.

Theo can look into your eyes and reveal your secret thoughts, which come out of his mouth like a swarm of bees.

Ginny has a bird called Blue living inside her. Her ribs are woven together to form a birdcage. Blue perches on a swing made from one of her ribs.

And the Thought-reading Twins, Archie and Millie Luxbridge, have an extraordinary ability to read each other’s minds.

They become stars of the circus but are unaware that Badblood has a dark and secret plan. One hundred years later the children’s ghosts appear on an island off the coast of Ireland where a boy called Rua befriends them. Rua discovers that a terrible fate awaits them and, in a desperate race against time, he struggles to learn how they may be saved.

Lost In A World Of Ghosts, Werewolves And Monsters

Dark fairy tales have always intrigued me; they excite my imagination and stir my senses. As a child, the intense visual imagery in fairy tales transported me to an alternative world where stories of wonder and terror sat side by side. When you read a fairy-tale you are encountering a world where magic exists. Witches and Werewolves inhabit enchanted forests and the distinction between good and evil is unmistakable.

I grew up in the 1980s, it was long before the Internet and MP3 players existed. Once a month I would visit my local corner shop to buy a ladybird book with an accompanying tape cassette. Then I would run home as fast as I could, place the tape into the cassette recorder and open the book. Within seconds I was transported to a faraway land full of goblins, ghosts and monsters. There were sound effects and music to accompany the words and a bell would sound to indicate when it was time to turn the page.

ladybird-frankenstein-tape-001 My favourite fairy tale was Little Red Riding Hood and for my seventh birthday my parents bought me a red cloak, it was made of the softest wool and the silk lining felt cool against my skin. Each time I listened to the fairy tale I wore the cloak. Sometimes I closed my eyes and let the words surround me until eventually my imagination was consumed and I felt as though I was walking towards a cottage in the middle of the deep, dark woods.

 Ladybird also produced a selection of horror classics with tapes to accompany them, they included Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and The Hound of the Baskerville’s by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle both of these books were deliciously dark and gothic and inspired my fascination with classic horror, gothic literature and ghosts.

 Throughout history people have been fascinated by Ghost Stories. As an author of historical fiction for children I like to create worlds rich with creepy old houses, enchanted forests and magical circuses.

 When I was writing my debut novel “The Ghosts of Magnificent Children” (Poolbeg Press) which is a set in the Victorian Era. I felt that it was essential to create the right atmosphere and I was scrupulous about research. I read books, ghosts stories and newspaper articles from the 1840s and I tried to find out as much as I could about the time in which my novel was set. With historical fiction you are asking the reader to enter the past with you and attention to detail is crucial.

 Ghost stories can be frightening and fear is a powerful emotion. A strange face at the window or the appearance of figure in a graveyard during a storm can be enough to terrify even the bravest of people. As an author it is important to use your imagination to conjure up images, and your writing becomes more authentic if you draw on your own experiences too.


The Ghosts of Magnificent Children is in bookshops now, or pick up your copy online here

About Caroline Busher


Caroline Busher graduated with a first Class Honours MA in Creative Writing (UCD) and is represented by Trace Literary Agency (USA). She is an award-winning author and was recently appointed the Reader in Residence with Wexford County Council Library Services. Caroline teaches creative writing courses to adults and children and is a curator for Wexford Literary Festival. Her debut novel “The Ghosts of Magnificent Children” (Poolbeg Press) has been selected for a major project called “Battle Of The Book” by the Dublin Airport Authority and Fingal County Council Library Services.

You can learn more about Caroline on her website www.carolinebusher.wordpress.com or on twitter @carolinebusher

A huge thank you to Caroline for asking me to feature this fab guest post!

Have you read The Ghosts Of Magnificent Children?  What did you think?  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 – Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel by Sara Grant


I’m so excited to have been asked to take part in this fab blog tour for this brilliant new MG Mystery, Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel by Sara Grant.

Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel was released on the 6th October in paperback by Scholastic and is set to be a brilliant, fun and intriguing read!

This is the second book in the Chasing Danger series with the first book being released earlier this year!


So today for my stop on the tour I’m going to shine the spotlight on the book and it’s wonderful author!

I also have a fab giveaway so do check out the bottom of the post and twitter!


Fourteen year old Mackenzie is pretty sure that visiting her grandmother is going be the most boring holiday ever, even if they are going to a tropical island. But what Mackenzie doesn’t know is that the island is about to come under attack. Soon Mackenzie will trying to save herself, her grandmother and the entire island in the most exciting (and most dangerous!) holiday of her life.


After surviving a kidnapping attempt in the Maldives, Chase and Mackenzie are off to the Ice Hotel in Iceland! What could go wrong there? But as soon as they arrive, accidents start to occur that seem targeted to scare – or worse, seriously hurt – the guests. When a body shows up frozen in an ice bed, it’s up to the two girls to figure out who is behind the attacks …before anyone else gets hurt!

You can buy a copy of Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel here

About Sara Grant


Sara Grant was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She has worked as an editor and is also the author of a number of books for young readers and teens. She lives in London and writes full-time.

You can find out more about Sara on her website – Sara-grant.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @AuthorSaraGrant










I have 1 set of Chasing Danger and Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

I am running this giveaway through twitter!

Just follow and Retweet!

You can enter by clicking here!

UK / IRE only

Ends 21st October 2016

Winners will be announced on twitter.

Good Luck!

Blog Tour

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


Monday 10th October

Bookish Outsider


Tuesday 11th October

Luna’s Little Library

Rachel Bustin

Wednesday 12th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Fiction Fascination

Thursday 13th October

Library Girl and Book Boy

Delightful Book Reviews

Friday 14th October

Tales of Yesterday

The Reading Pile

Saturday 15th October

Big Book Little Book

Inspiring Imarah

Sunday 16th October

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts



Another huge thank you to Sara, Faye and Scholastic for having me on this tour and for asking me to host such a fab giveaway!

Have you read Chasing Danger or Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel?  What did you think?  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!


PHBC – Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick



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.

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 they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…


 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick


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

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read for November! The next book will be announced on 17th October 2016

Don’t forget up for missing last months #PointHorrorBookClub I am posting a special Halloween treat on the 31st October where we will be discussing Halloween Night 2!


For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Also do check out our Q&A with the one and only Richie Tankersley Cusick that went live last month – here !

** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**

The Tagline

Skating on thin ice…

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Ryan McCauley has just watched her sister drown in icy cold water with only her red ribbons left floating on the surface…all in what seems like a tragic accident with no body left to be found.  But just before Marissa died she gave Ryan a roll of film to develop and tried to tell Ryan a secret!

A secret?  Oh I love secrets!  Do tell!

Well that’s the thing Ryan doesn’t know and when strange things start to happen she begins to think that someone is after her next wants her dead too!

Surely not?!

Yep…..thus begins the moving dolls, presents from the dead, honking car horns, hallucinations and hearing her dead sister Marissa, spiked cider and creepy Father Christmas’s chasing Ryan down the street!

Not a creepy phone call in sight in this book!

For realises?  OMG!

But never fear because she has the best Point Horror boy ever to help her and you can always rely on your boss and your parents right?!

The Girl

Ryan McCauley with her brown hair, brown eyes and love of doll houses and pine cones was actually a pretty decent Point Horror girl I have to admit!  I actually really liked her.

Her sister Marissa’s death seemed to have a huge impact on Ryan and rightly so as she basically watched her drown in the opening chapters and I think this was actually really well done!  Feeling pushed out by her mother and forgotten about all seemed part of the grieving process that the family was going through and I thought RTC captured this well.

I loved he scenes when she was hallucinating in the toy shop, beating up an unsuspecting snowman and being chased by a Father Christmas with a bell….I actually felt scared for her at some points as the tension was mounting!

I mean she actually became scared to death it sent her over the edge…..but wouldn’t you be with all that happening to you?

But most of all I loved her flirting with Jinx!  More on him in a minute!

The Love Interest

Prepare yourself……

Are you ready?

You know what’s coming don’t you!?


*kisses every page Jinx appears on*

Be still my beating heart!

Look I’m a sucker for a funny, cheeky boy and Jinx ticked all these boxes and more!

The so called irritating little brother of Ryan’s best friend Phoebe with his brown eyes , baby face and one dimple in his little cute cheek. He was always making Ryan smile and of course me and lets not forget how his room reflected his personality.

He lit up every page!  I’ve never shipped a Point Horror pair quite like I have with Jinx and Ryan!




Jinx and Ryan’s flirting was everything!  And when Jinx got a little jealous of hunk Winchester my heart ached!

And his love of pizza held no bounds!  The scene when he ran (in slow motion in my head) to Ryan’s rescue dropping his pizza on the floor as quick as anything is surely a pure sign of love!


The Gang

Only fair to start with Ryan’s blond curled hair sister, Marissa, who basically dies on page 8!  The typical first victim of any good horror!

With her love of red ribbons in her hair and a blouse that got wet and turned red like blood she was destined to be the victim leaving little clues behind about her “secret” and an undeveloped film which gave me nostalgic flashbacks to those good old days of sending rolls of film off to Truprint!  Oh and don’t forget she prefers the smell of turkey not the cold!  You know because they are totally related!

Then we have the typical best friend, Phoebe, with her dimples, blue eyes, her need for natural curly hair, crazy about guys and lets not forget fancying Steve!  Yes, she fancied Ryan’s Mom’s boyfriend….because he’s such a catch….and an evil gun wielding drug lord!

Phoebe seemed like the best friend that we have come to know and love from our Point Horror’s especially as she was crazy about guys too!

I loved the fight she has with her brother Jinx (*swoons*) …and basically revealed all his deepest darkest secrets out of spite for him getting her grounded!  Loved it!

Winchester the loner with his shy looks, shy slow smile, hair as black as ravens wings and gorgeous looks he was our bit of hot Point Horror totty lets be honest here.  He made me imagine Nick Jonas….which is never a bad thing!


 He was very caring about his family and basically went out with Ryan’s sister when she was alive but it turns out that he was really after Ryan *eye roll*

However, he was drawn into the drug ring of being the delivery boy….but I will forgive his devilish good looks because his family’s life was being threatened and he basically turned hero in the end by trying to save everyone which I’m tempted to write allllll the fan fiction about especially in his tight fitting jeans!

*fans self*

And there’s creepy Charles Eastman an apparent friend of Marissa’s, a stranger to Ryan and her Mom, who came bearing gifts and was invited to stay in their house!  With his blonde hair, intense stare and creepy personality he charmed his way around Ryan’s Mom all to try and find out if Ryan knew anything about Marissa’s secret.  He was vile from the first page I laid eyes on him and lets not forget he was the worst driver ever!  He got lost, hit a dog, got a flat tyre and drove off and left his intoxicated passenger in the middle of nowhere in the snow!


Moving on swiftly to the “artsy section of town”…… to Mr Partini and his toy shop where he makes all the toys himself…..you know to STASH HIS DRUGS IN!  An old Italian man who lost his wife 25 years previously and who employed Ryan in his shop was in on it all along!  Calling Ryan his little Bambalina was just a cover up for his evil streak.  Who would have thought it?!

The Parents!

Yep I’m giving them a whole section to themselves as again this Point Horror reminds me why we should never moan that parents are often “absent” from Point Horror….and not in the way you might expect.

I mean we had Ryan’s Mom….a widow and totally in love with her new beau Steve.  I liked Ryan’s Mom…..she was grieving for one of her daughters who had died and her body not found, she cared for Ryan although Ryan couldn’t necessarily see that.  I mean okay she let a stranger called Creepy Charles stay in her house but still she was a good example of a Point Horror Mom trying her best.

And then there’s Steve……rich, college professor Steve.  With his sports car, boat, cute smile, funny personality, hair thinning on top and a mole on his……(that sentence was never finished and it scares me!).  Oh and lets not forget he’s a drug lord and a killer.

Once I found out he was part of the reveal everything about him literally gave me the creeps.  All the little Step Father pep talks to Ryan and little winks and acts of kindness just to try and find out if Ryan knew anything ….ugh!  And there’s the fact that Marissa had found out about his little drug ring with the others so he got her killed to protect himself and his “business”.  I always remember being shocked when I read this in my teens that an actual parent figure was in on it and I wonder if that’s why this book stuck in my mind all these years later as a fave….I couldn’t remember why it was a fave, but I definitely think this twist was one of the main reasons.  I mean who doesn’t love a good twist?!

Fashion Faux Pas

I did not find any!

Unless you count the blouse that Marissa remembered wearing that got wet and turned red like blood…..knock off?

Dialogue Disasters

I didn’t find too many dialogue disasters in this one…just a few things that made me chuckle as normal….

“Ryan you couldn’t be mean to anybody”

Tell that to the poor snowman she beat up!

“You need a boyfriend”

Pheobe has the best solution to Ryan’s problems…..not!

“And Mr Partini wouldn’t let anything happen to me”

Oh wouldn’t he?

“Ryan wondered how he could often look so cuddly and be such a holy terror”

*daydreams about Jinx*

“Ryan felt like a sack of lead”


“Your entirely too high strung”

With just reason!

“Shadows don’t honk.  Shadows don’t talk”

*coughs* this is Point Horror! *coughs*

“You’ve got about as much self confidence as a rabbit”

Jinx is trying the tried and tested Watership Down chat up line…..I still would 😉

“They’re all big ones”

Point Horror stumbling into Point Romance territory!

And last but by no means least the line that wins ALL of the awards…..

“Without warning the elves started singing their Christmas Carols….but on low speed, demons voices”

Forget killer clowns…..evil demon elves is where it’s at!


Body Count


You heard me right!


Well 3 if we count the beaten up snowman….RIP Snowy!

But Yayyyyyyy!

Richie gives us Point Horror fans exactly what we crave! One death by drowning in icy cold frozen water at the start and one death by gunshot right at the end!

I feel bad…..but WHAT A TREAT!

Is it scary?

Not entirely, but I did find they whole being chased by Santa with his little ringing bell quite terrifying I will be honest.  How scary was that scene?!

Did the best friend do it?

Nope not this time…..but basically the whole town was virtually in on it….

Okay I exaggerate….it was only the shop owner, the creepy stranger, the handsome hunk and the step dad….no big deal!

*blows mind*

Some Mild Peril?

I guess the whole barn shotgun showdown at the end is a huge mix of mild peril….but up until that point Ryan wasn’t exactly in too much danger really was she?

Oh except those icy roads and creepy Father Christmas!

Is it any good?

I always said that this Point Horror was a favourite of mine back in the day and I always knew the twist at the end kind of shocked me and it’s stayed with me all these years and I have to say this book did not disappoint me at all.

I loved it!

I think the characters were great.  The storyline was great.  The twist and reveal was great.

I even loved the little popcorn mention on page 20!  Mmmmmmmmmm

Final Thought

Who actually did get sent to kill Marissa?

Cover Wars!









Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Winchester, Jinx or Charles?
  • Who really did kill Marissa as Steve did not like to get his hands dirty?
  • You want to send someone mad to retrieve a secret…what would you do?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub for a one off special on the 31st October 2016 to discuss Halloween Night 2 !


You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read for November here!

Voting closes on the 17th October 2016!

And the winner was…..


The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th October 2016!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….


Tales Q&A with Lou Kuenzler


I am over the moon to have the lovely Lou Kuenzler on Tales today to celebrate the release of her new book Finding Black Beauty which was released on the 6th October published by Scholastic.

Finding Black Beauty tells the other side of the classic horse story Black Beauty by Anna Sewell which Scholastic have also re-jacketed as part of their Scholastic Classics.

51r84uyrfml-_sx324_bo1204203200_ A huge thank you to Olivia at Scholastic for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and for sending me copies of both beautiful books.

Today Lou talks about rewriting a classic, inspirations and writing in this brilliant Q&A.


Told from the point of view of a young girl who masquerades as a boy in order to become a groom, this is the other side of the classic horse story BLACK BEAUTY. Aspiring groom Jo comes to love Beauty and when they are separated she travels to London to find him – on the way solving the mystery of her long-lost mother. A sweeping tale of a young girl and her love for a horse, and the circumstances that divide them.

Hi Lou

Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday.  I’m so happy to have you here!  Thank you for returning to a treasured classic of mine!

Thank you for having me, Tales of Yesterday. I always find it really interesting to answer questions about the thinking behind writing my books.  It often makes me realise things I had not consciously known.

Can you tell us a little about Finding Black Beauty?


Finding Black Beauty revisits Anna Sewell’s classic animal adventure and explores the untold story of some of the characters.  Above all, I hope it offers a cracking read for middle grade children with plenty of drama and pace (and maybe even a few tears) along the way.

What made you want to write a retelling of Black Beauty?

I loved Black Beauty as a child and read it many times. I think what drew me in was the sheer drama of it – the life and death struggle of the horse at the centre of the story.  I wanted to recapture some of that for modern readers, paying homage to Anna Sewell’s brilliance but also creating an original story of my own.

Can you tell us a little about the main character Josie?

I loved writing Josie.  She is based on the young stable lad Joe Green who only appears very briefly (but at two crucial moments) in the original Black Beauty story.  Almost at once, I decided Joe would really be Josie, a girl in disguise, as she is desperate to be allowed to work with horses.  Once that decision was made, everything else fell in to place.  I knew to take a risk like that in Victorian Britain, Josie would have to be the sort of child who is used to getting her own way – perhaps too much so – but who is also brave, inventive and full of imagination. It was really interesting to have the chance to explore Victorian ideas of class and gender through the framework of this character, and to reflect some of those questions and assumptions back on our own times for contemporary readers too, I hope.

And is Beauty the same black horse we know from the original classic or did you change him in any way?

He is as close to the original as I could make him.  The magnificent horse is the heart and soul of Anna Sewell’s story.  Without giving respect to that, I think I would have lost any integrity in the project.  We get to meet the adorable pony Merrylegs and the tricky-natured Ginger too, of course.

 What was your favourite scene to write?

I have to say, I loved it all. This is the most fun I have ever had writing a book – perhaps because it was such a direct link back to my own childhood love of reading and the first secret ambitions to be a writer (scribbled in the back of exercise books) which began at around the same time.  But ,if I had to pick one scene, it would be when Josie’s horrible aunt shuts up the stables and sends her away from home. The baddies are always the most fun to write!

 What was the hardest scene to write?

This would have to be the scene where Ginger dies.  It always made me cry in the original and, to make things worse, we had just had to have our much-loved family dog put down in the same week that I needed to get those chapters written.  There were a lot of tears! At the same time; though, I had to try and keep perspective and check I wasn’t overdoing the sentiment too much.

Who was your favourite character from Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty?

I think it would have to be Black Beauty himself.  I defy any child who has ever loved horses not to dream that Black Beauty could be their own.

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in Finding Black Beauty or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

I did not use any direct experiences but I was lucky enough to grow up on a farm and have a pony of my own. I used my knowledge of riding (not something I get to do very often anymore) and my sense memory of being around horses a great deal.  I would love to say I am like Josie (I certainly like to get my own way and can be quite stubborn) but I know she is much braver than I am.

If you could cast your characters from Finding Black Beauty in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

I would love Emma Thompson to play the horrible aunt, Miriam Margolies to play Josie’s nanny and Maggie Smith to play Lady Hexham (now wouldn’t that be a trio!!).










Zac Efron would make a great handsome and moody James (the brooding groom who makes Josie’s life especially tough) and it would be great if we could tempt Emma Watson to be Josie. Quick someone, call their agents …




We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Lou Kuenzler?

The last time I rode a horse, I fell off.

I am afraid of rats.

I am quite superstitious about magpies.

I have two cats and a dog.

My screensaver is a walrus.

Can you tell us a bit about some of your other books?

I write picture books and younger fiction too.   My latest picture book, Eat Your People, is the grisly tale of what a monster has on his dinner plate. 


Meanwhile, my most recent chapter book for younger readers, Bella Broomstick: Halloween Havoc, comes out on the same day as Finding Black Beauty.  This story is the third adventure in a really fun series about a big-hearted young witch who has come to live in the human world and causes magical chaos wherever she goes – often aided and abetted by her naughty kitten, Rascal.


You can find a review of the first Bella Broomstick here

Which of your characters from any of your books would you most like to spend the day with?

I’d love to hang out with Shrinking Violet (my fish-finger sized girl) but only if I could get to shrink and scuttle about spying on people along with her.  One of my favourite moments in the Shrinking Violet books is when she slides down a giraffe’s neck like a helter-skelter.  I’d love to have a go at that!


Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

I am dyslexic and the person who inspired me most was my secondary school English teacher, Mrs Moore.  She told me that she always loved reading my stories (even if the spelling was atrocious). That made all the difference. Thank you.

Genuinely, the book I read most in my childhood was Black Beauty. Reading wasn’t easy and I loved the way it was in short, manageable episodes with bold characters and heartfelt emotion.


Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

Oh, so many! In particular, I do wish I had written Any Stanton’s Mr Gum books just for the sheer, laugh-out-loud, jelly-wobbling silliness. Inspired!


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

I would love to do a picture book collaboration with Redhouse winner Andrew Weale (Spooky Spooky House, Newt In A Suit, Nora etc.) – I think his joyous use of rhyme is fantastic.


When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

Lots and lots of walking, talking out loud – the very first thing I tend to do is write down a few snatches of dialogue (these, almost without exception, end up in the final book).  Once the voices start, I know I have something to build on. Then it is just down to the tricky little matter of plot …

Do you have any strange writing habits?

Biscuits. Biscuits. And (you guessed it) … more biscuits!

Did music influence your books or your characters.  Did music have any influence the story of Finding Black Beauty?

I am married to a music journalist who plays his music full blast just upstairs from where I write.  So the theme tune to my writing is always the heavy base from a song I can’t quite catch.  I don’t play music myself while I write as I find lyrics too distracting and the fast or slow tempo of orchestral pieces tends to influence me too much.  Again, I do lots of talking out loud while I write.  I like to hear the sound of the words – I think this is especially important in children’s books.

 Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2016 or 2017?

That would be telling – but I am definitely thinking about animals and history again for older readers. I have a new pre-school picture book, My Digger Is Bigger, with gorgeous bright, funny illustrations by Dan Taylor coming out with Scholastic next year. I have just seen the final proofs and am over the moon.

Thanks so much for answering all of my questions today Lou!

 Thank you again for inviting me to share my thoughts.  It has been great fun. Lou


You can buy a copy of Finding Black Beauty here or from your local book shop!

You can find a review of the first Bella Broomstick here

About Lou Kuenzler


Lou Kuenzler’s popular SHRINKING VIOLET, PRINCESS DISGRACE and BELLA BROOMSTICK books offer fun, fast-paved adventure stories for newly-fluent readers.

For older – more confident – readers, FINDING BLACK BEAUTY is a re-imagining of Anna Sewell’s classic story with plenty of Victorian interest and exciting twists.

Lou also writes picture book for much younger children. If you’ve got a fussy eater, try EAT YOUR PEOPLE for a hilarious new look at how to leave nothing on a plate!

Lou loves doing festivals/school visits and is always happy to talk to groups of children.

To find out more about Lou visit her website – www.loukuenzler.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @LouKuenzler  

Blog Tour

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


A huge huge thank you to Lou for a brilliant Q&A and answering all of my questions and to Olivia at Scholastic for organising!

Have you read Finding Black Beauty?  What did you think?  If you could re write a classic which would you choose? 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 – Tigeropolis: The Grand Opening by R.D Dikstra

61uzwfwe9l-_sx324_bo1204203200_In celebration of the second book in the Tigeropolis series, The Grand Opening, being released in paperback this week on the 12th October I have a brilliant extract from the first book in ther series Beyond The Deep Forest.

Tigeropolis engages children aged 8-12 (and beyond!) in the importance of protecting our environment in a fun, gently educational way with charming illustrations by Matt Rowe and an entertaining story about a family of vegetarian tigers trying to save their tiger reserve.

Author R.D. Dikstra was inspired to write the story by his own travels and conservation efforts in India.

A huge thank you to Stephanie at Midas for asking me to feature this extract including gorgeous illustrations today.

51emm7tmqwl-_sx324_bo1204203200_A fun, quirky tale for children 8-12, about a family of vegetarian tigers living in Tigeropolis – a tiger park deep in the foothills of the Himalayas. For years tiger cubs Bittu and Matti, their Mother Tala and wise old Uncle Raj have enjoyed a tranquil life out of sight of humans. But Tigeropolis is set to close, bulldozed to make way for a new motorway. The tigers set out to save their beloved park, but they soon realise they’ll need to rediscover some old skills : how to roar, how to hunt and, well, how to be tigers.61uzwfwe9l-_sx324_bo1204203200_

Tiger cubs Bittu and Matti, together with old Uncle Raj and their mother Tala, might have saved their beloved Tigeropolis, but they soon discover there’s much more to running a successful wildlife park than posing for the odd picture and uploading it to ‘Tigerbook’.

From the reappearance of an old foe from Uncle Raj’s past, to coming up with inventive ways to draw in the crowds, the family of vegetarian tigers have their hands full trying to make the reopening of Tigeropolis the roaring success they want it to be.

Tigeropolis: The Grand Opening engages children aged 8-12 in the importance of protecting our environment – and, of course, the tiger – in a fun, educational and entertaining way. Full of witty takes on what life might be like for the modern tiger and charming illustrations, Tigeropolis: The Grand Opening is the second book in the acclaimed Tigeropolis series.








You can buy a copy of the Tigeropolis books here

About R.D Dikstra


Richard was born and brought up in Scotland. He first became interested in wildlife conservation after a whale watching trip in Alaska and, to this day, continues to discover unusual places off the beaten track. 

His passion for traveling and wildlife led Richard to India, where he first visited a tiger park in 2009 as part of a group investigating the relationship between conservation and wildlife tourism in India. He immediately felt an affinity with the country, its landscapes and its wildlife – and especially its tigers. The idea for Tigeropolis was born after his first tiger sighting.

Richard’s dedication to conservation led him to help set up Discovery Initiatives in 1997, a company specialising in conservation-related travel which, working with NGOs around the world, contributed over £1.5 million to conservation projects. He also helped set up pioneering social media platform, Tiger Nation.

Tigeropolis: Beyond The Deep Forest is his first children’s book, with the second in the series, Tigeropolis: The Grand Opening due to be published on 12th October 2016. 




Another huge thank you to Stephanie at Midas for asking me to host!

Have you read Tigeropolois?  What did you think?  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!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...