Guest Post – The Worst of Germs by Gwen Lowe

Today I am over the moon to have a fab post from Gwen Lowe author of Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs!

Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs was released on the 1st March 2018 published by the lovelies at Chicken House and is set to be a fab laugh out loud middle grade!

Today Gwen chats to us about the worst germs…..

When Alice Dent gets a cold, she has no idea how much trouble it’s about to cause. Because this is no ordinary cold: it comes with some seriously weird side effects. For a start, Alice can’t stop giggling and every animal she meets sticks to her like glue! But when the mysterious Best Minister for Everything Nicely Perfect and his scary masked henchmen come to take her away, Alice realizes her troubles are only just beginning …

The Worst of Germs

In my other job, (the one where I’m a doctor fighting the spread of nasty diseases), I sometimes get asked which germs are the worst.

It’s a good question, but almost impossible to answer. You see, what we worry about professionally might surprise you. It’s not usually the exotic diseases that cause the most problems, but the everyday bugs surrounding us.

In some ways we think a bit like Mrs Dent, Alice’s mother in Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs. Mrs Dent always thinks in terms of what nasty infection she might catch from anything. Unlike us though, she takes this to extremes and puts in place ridiculous and drastic control measures. Nevertheless, the science underlying her fear is real.

For example, if Mrs Dent could bring herself to shake hands, she would check that the offered hand had been properly washed after using the toilet. Hands can carry a zoo of faecal germs, including E. coli O157, a nasty little microbe causing diarrhoea with blood in up to half the people made ill and serious kidney failure in around 1 in 10 infected children. As a double whammy, it spreads very easily – even from people who feel perfectly fine.

Then there’s campylobacter; a common cause of tummy upset. People shrug it off as “just food poisoning”, but it often puts sufferers in hospital, may cause painful arthritis, and occasionally causes serious paralysis that can last for months. It is easily avoided by not washing uncooked poultry and correct cooking, but I imagine that Mrs Dent would take the precaution of treating raw chicken like deadly poison every time she handled it.

So you might guess how she would feel about salads – excellent for passing on all sorts of germs. I imagine that rather than just washing salad leaves well, Mrs Dent would banish all lettuce from the house.

Mrs Dent certainly knows that the most infectious diseases (measles, flu and chickenpox) are spread by coughs and sneezes. It only takes a short conversation with someone in the early stages of the illness and wham, you’re exposed. I tend to glare at anyone coughing near me who doesn’t cover their mouth (and swiftly move seats), but the only real defence is vaccination. If these viruses are circulating there’s nothing else you can really do to dodge them (except perhaps to stay at home like Mrs Dent and banish all visitors).

Whilst we’re at it, there are lots of other precautions you might take to avoid catching horrible diseases. I could suggest only swimming in boringly rectangular pools well away from any toddlers (helps to avoid cryptosporidium), never touching furry animals (list of diseases too long to mention) and banning reptiles (may carry salmonella).

Still, that would take all the pleasure out of life, and I’d hate to do that. To be honest, unlike Mrs Dent, I’m happy to swim, shake hands, pat dogs and cook poultry: I just wash my hands well afterwards!

ALICE DENT AND THE INCREDIBLE GERMS by Gwen Lowe out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop!

About Gwen Lowe

Gwen Lowe is a consultant Public Health doctor in Wales who describes her job as being like a medical detective. Working with a special team, she has to urgently discover what is making people ill and then stop it before anyone else gets ill too. Previously, she has been a hospital doctor and a GP as well as a hotel washer-upper, a restaurant table clearer and a postwoman. Married with a daughter, over the years she has found herself spending time with ever-changing pairs of rescue guinea-pigs, the school rats, elderly hamsters and other little creatures.

You can follow Gwen on twitter – @gwenllowe

A huge huge thank you to Gwen for such a superb guest post and to Laura at Chicken House for asking me to host!

Have you read any of Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs? What did you think? What was your favourite part? 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 – The Invitation by Diane Hoh

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 pick….

The Invitation by Diane Hoh

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

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

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read at the bottom of this post!

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

The Tagline

A party like no other….

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Rich snob and popular bitch Cassandra Rockham is throwing her annual fall party and Sarah and her friends all get an invite.  But why would she invite the unpopular crowd?

Well maybe Cassandra was worried she was leaving them out?

Well Cassandra certainly gave them a party they would never forget.  They played musical chairs and….

Oh I love musical chairs!

….And became part of the party and Cassandra’s “people hunt” game!

A people hunt?

Yes that’s right….. Cassandra gets Sarah and her friends locked up in rooms around the house and instruct people to follow the clues to find them and collect stickers to win!

Think Saw….but with brightly coloured stickers instead!


Well Sarah and her friends don’t think so!  And when someone begins playing another game and putting Sarah and her friends into new hiding places and facing near certain death things take a sinister twist….but who is doing this and why?

The Girl

Violinist Sarah E Drew was our Point Horror girl living in her yellow house with her braided hair the colour of  beach sand and her sandy brows and thin pretty frame.  Sarah was actually a pretty decent Point Horror girl.

I loved how she was nifty with a credit card and quickly managed to escape the room she was locked in and basically ruin Cassandra’s people hunt to save her friends!

Big shout out to Sarah giving Cassandra a right roasting over finding the freezer key.

The Love Interest

Riley White with his canary yellow sports car, great smile, crisp white shirts, thick straight dark brown hair, brown eyes and was oh so cute was our Sarah’s love interest.  Part of the it crown and with a good knowledge of his way around the huge mansion I love how he teamed up with Sarah to piss off Cassandra….and of course pull and woo Sarah.

To be fair he wasn’t my cup of tea and he didn’t really do much other than solve a few clues….he was a bit of a waste of space.  Cassandra should have seen the opportunity and locked him up forever and thrown away the key!

I guess I’m being a little in fair….he was bothered about Sarah looking at him and always thinking about the night her and her friends got locked up in rooms and almost murdered……

The Gang

I simply have to start with Cassandra Rockham!  I know she was meant to be the snobby bitch of this Point Horror, but I absolutely LOVED her!  Part of the “hill crowd” of Greenhaven and in her 3 storey white mansion on the hill complete with Swedish sauna and powder blue bedrooms and with her thick glossy black hair, scarlet nails and lips, soft pale cheeks, dark lashes and chestnut eyes she was an absolutely unforgettable Point Horror character who made me smile lots…..she just didn’t care!  Literally didn’t care about anyone or anything! Her Annual Fall party was “the” party to get an invite to and who knew that she would find such pleasure in luring a group of unpopular kids to her party, playing pretend musical chairs, hire a band but then mute the sound and then lock Sarah and her friends up for a people hunt.  Classic!  I mean what would you do if your “people hunt” started taking a turn for the worst… the police?  Get help?  Or be like Cassandra and kiss boys in blue blazers and claim that her party has been ruined as someone is attempting to murder the people that she locked up in the first place.  More Cassandra please!  More!

Lets move onto Sarah’s trusty group of friends otherwise I will be raving about Cassandra throughout this whole post!

First up Eleanor Whitter (Ellie) who was so happy about being invited to Cassandra’s party (bless her) much to her sister Ruth’s disgust!  With her broad body, tall frame, plain honest round cheerful face with cheeks pink as sunset, warm sense of humour and blue eyes shiny as the ocean she was so kind hearted and naïve.  Although she took trying that Swedish sauna out a little to literally as she was locked in there for the people hunt.

Ruth, Ellie’s sister,,,.wow she could give Cassandra a run for her money.  The perfect suspicious red herring!  With her unpredictable temper, dark hair and eyes she literally ruined her sisters beautiful dress so that she had to wear her Moms dress to the party!  I mean this was the 90’s so lets face it this was probably a full on 80’s fashion disaster.  That in itself is pure evil!

Maggie Delaney who took driving a little too seriously…..well maybe that was because she was moved from her original hiding spot and put in a car with handles and ignition removed to be gassed to death until she floored that car through a wall to save her self!  She was great!  With her copper coloured short curly hair, tall willowy frame, freckled skin and thick lashed brown eyes what was not to love?

Shane Magruder the new arrival with the mysterious past that Maggie took under her wing.  With her white blonde hair, tiny frame, thick straight hair to her shoulders and pale blue eyes it was implied that something happened in Rockport before she moved to Greenhaven and this had me intrigued!  I loved Shane she was shy, quiet and with a fear of heights….who knew that stealing a ring a few years ago and moving away would cause some one to come and hunt her down with a plan of killing her and her new friends!

Donald Neeson who was super chill…..oh I mean got locked in the freezer…my bad.  With his red herring of a girlfriend lifeguard and swimmer Dolly who was meant to be jealous and a bit obsessive and his shy smile and husky voice was basically there to be the love interest for Maggie.

And who would have thought that an author would make so much use out of a random person who decided to join in helping Sarah and Riley…. I even wrote Gabe and Gwen….lol at random people in my notes…..but whoa what a reveal!  Gwen was actually the mystery person  with the baggy coat and large floppy hat all along!  YEAH!  Yes that’s right random Gwen turned out to be Lynn from Shanes past who had flipped out over being caught shoplifting a ring and left to be ridiculed for it for the rest of her life!

Fashion Faux Pas

There was reference to a buttery soft suede jeans and peach silk blouse as some point, but other than that there were no hideous dresses or illuminous outfits that I noticed.

Dialogue Disasters

Not so much dialogue disasters as in lines that made me chuckle a little….

“Something about this while thing just didn’t feel right to Sarah”

I beg to differ….something felt right to me!  This Point Horror was brilliant reading.

“Her parents were packing for their thirty-day excursion to the south of France”

This happened on Page 3!  I think this is a record for the “getting rid of the parents” classic

“Sarah’s best friend looked as mis matched as pizza and chocolate cake”

Harsh but yummy!

“The new dress was bright red….blood red….it was a very happy dress”


“Doesn’t she make it sound as if the loser would be taken out and shot”

Shhhhhh don’t give Cassandra any more ideas!

“But if Cass knew that Sarah was a musician, pumping this heavy metal garbage into the the room where she was being held prisoner was about as mean as a person could get!”

Really?!  REALLY?!  Not read any other Point Horrors?!  Really?!  Plus everyone loves a bit of Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit!

“I’ll never be able to throw a party again”

Oh Cassandra I heart you!

“And no one could kill four people at a party crowded with guests.  That was crazy”

But pure entertainment for us Point Horror fans!

Body Count


And by gosh what a death!  Death by dart which knocks you off balance over the edge of a balcony to certain death!

This book rocked!

Is it scary?

Welllllll….Not really …. more fun times!  Well for the reader any way.  I tell you what was scary though….the fact that it took any of the characters till page 125 to finally call an ambulance and then to page 143 to call the police…..that’s some commitment to “people hunting”!

Did the best friend do it?

Well actually kind of yeah.  Shane and Lynn were best friends from where Shane previously lived so I am classing this as a winner!  Ding Ding!

Some Mild Peril?

Okay I give this book a high five for the mild peril…..I mean locking people up in freezers, saunas and cars and locking the doors is definitely classed as mild peril for sure!

At least Cassandra locked them up in decent places for the “people hunt”…gosh Lynn just wanted more death and danger than Cassandra was obviously aiming for!

Is it any good?

I really really LOVED this Point Horror!  I think this one could actually stand up to a present day audience really well.

I loved how it was told from multiple points of view and I loved the riddles that Cassandra set for the hunt.  This might just be personal preference but I love a good mansion full of hiding places and riddles and murder!  Oh and to top it all off you had to collect stickers when you figured out the clues!  Be still my Point Horror heart!  Sign me up!  *coughs*  I mean ….. just awful who would ever think of such a thing!

*Makes notes for future birthday parties*

I also loved the fact that the catering and kitchen staff are in this house and don’t bat an eyelid to anything going on around them!

Final Thought

What on earth happened to the band Cassandra hired?!

Cover Wars!

Which cover do you prefer?






Over to you!

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

  • Cassandra!  Love or hate her?
  • Your having a party…..what games would you play?
  • Let’s here your best riddle!
  • Who had it worst out of all of Sarah’s friends?
  • Will Sarah always look at Riley and think big scary death mansion?

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

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

The next #PointHorrorBookClub with be on the 13th April and I have recruited the awesome Oliver Clark who is a  Point Horror fan to pick our three potential reads for the vote….

What will you pick?

Pick Your Next Point Horror Read for the 13th April 2017!

Voting ends and the next Point Horror Book Club read will be announce on the 17th March 2018!

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!



Guest Post – What’s At The Heart Of Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy

Today I am super excited to have the brilliant Vashti Hardy on Tales to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Brightstorm!

Brightstorm was released on the 1st March 2018 published by Scholastic and is set to be a thrilling adventure!

Today Vashti talks about what’s at the heart of Brightstorm in this fab guest post…

Twins Arthur and Maudie receive word in Lontown that their famous explorer father died in a failed attempt to reach South Polaris. Not only that, but he has been accused of trying to steal fuel from his competitors before he died! The twins don’t believe the news, and they answer an ad to help crew a new exploration attempt in the hope of learning the truth and salvaging their family’s reputation. As the winged ship Aurora sets sail, the twins must keep their wits about them and prove themselves worthy of the rest of the crew. But will Arthur and Maudie find the answers they seek?

What’s At The Heart Of Brightstorm (the character wants vs needs)

At the heart of every story are the things a character thinks they need and want, and the thing they actually need which they are unaware of, otherwise known as the lie and the truth. The story will have a tension between these things and the character arc and theme both centre on the inner conflict between this lie and truth.

When Arthur Brightstorm learns of the death of his father, he feels he’s lost the future, because of the way he’d seen things working out in life for the three of them – Ernest, Arthur and twin Maudie destined to sail sky-ships together as a family with Arthur navigating as second in command. This is exacerbated by the fact that Maudie’s future still seems so certain to him – he can see the gap that she fills in the world as her talents mean she is destined to be a great engineer, but for himself, Arthur can only see the gap left by his father’s death. What Arthur has to learn however, or his ‘truth’, is that his future is not lost it is just different, and he now needs to learn to ‘sail his own ship’. As Harriet tells him:

‘Control is an illusion. We never know what life will throw at us. You are the master of your destiny, Arthur, and you can still do those things. Your father is still with you inside.’

So whilst Arthur chases what he wants (the truth of what happened to his father), he also finds his inner truth even though he wasn’t looking for it; what he really needed was to learn that he still had a future, albeit a different one, but he had to go on the journey to see that he could continue to achieve this dreams in a world without his father. And by going on that journey he also finds something unexpected – a new unlikely family in the crew of the Aurora.

If you’re writing a story and are a bit stuck, try thinking about what your characters wants and needs are. Think about the tension between them and hopefully you’ll be well on your way to unlocking that all important story heart!

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

About Vashti Hardy

Vashti Hardy is a copywriter who lives near Brighton with her family. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Chichester University and previously studied on the Creative Writing Certificate at Sussex University. Very active on Twitter, she is an alumna of and mentor at the Golden Egg Academy.

You can find out more about Vashti on her website –

Or why not follow her on twitter – @vashti_hardy 

Blog Tour

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

A huge huge thank you to Vashti for such a superb guest post and to Olivia for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of Brightstorm?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  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 – Our Fantasy Coven by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Today I am excited to be part of The Witch’s Blood Blog Tour to celebrate the third and final book in the trilogy!

The Witch’s Blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr was released on the 8th March 2018 published by Harper Collins Children’s Books and is a must for any fantasy fan!

Today Katharine & Elizabeth are talking about their fantasy coven in this fab guest post…

Just who can you trust when no one around you is who they seem?

The final spell-binding book in THE WITCH’S KISS trilogy by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

Life as a teenage witch just got harder for Merry when her brother, Leo is captured and taken into an alternative reality by evil witch Ronan. Determined to get him back, Merry needs to use blood magic to outwit her arch-rival and get Leo back. Merry is more powerful than ever now, but she is also more dangerous and within the coven, loyalties are split on her use of the magic. In trying to save Leo, Merry will have to confront evil from her past and present and risk the lives of everyone she’s ever loved. Given the chaos she’s created, just what will she sacrifice to make things right?

Our Fantasy Coven

‘Being a witch meant becoming familiar with hundreds of years’ worth of spells and techniques and history. Merry understood the necessity, sort of. She had to be able to cast spells with the other witches so she could become a full member of the coven. Witchcraft was a team sport. Or at least it was supposed to be.’

Merry, our main character in The Witch’s Kiss trilogy, has a love/hate relationship with the coven that she (sort of) belongs to. Excluded initially because her mum refuses to let her practise magic, Merry starts training to join the coven in The Witch’s Tears, but she chafes against the rules and restrictions. And the other coven members aren’t entirely comfortable being around Merry either, especially as her power grows. Still, the coven has an important part to play, for good or ill (no, we’re not going to tell you which!) before the end of The Witch’s Blood. We rather like the idea of having a bunch of powerful witch friends to hang out with, so we’ve decided to put together our own Fantasy Coven (limited to eleven witches, because it’s the closest we’re likely to get to picking a fantasy football team).

Granny Weatherwax (The Discworld books, Terry Pratchett)

One of our favourite Discworld characters, illustrated here by Paul Kidby. Granny Weatherwax is wise, really powerful, sharp as a scalpel, and always does the right thing. Not necessarily the nice thing, mind you. She would be brilliant as our coven leader and would have no trouble keeping the more morally ambiguous members in line.

Nanny Ogg (The Discworld books)

The brown sauce to Granny’s bacon sandwich. Nanny would be the one to keep an eye on the coven’s younger members, and she’d be sure to supply plenty of interesting ‘refreshments’ for those late-night coven meetings.


We’re plumping for the Angelina Jolie version here because a) she’s much nicer than in the Disney cartoon, b) she has cheekbones to die for and c) has wings. Super useful for when your broomstick breaks down.

Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter books, JK Rowling)

As the brightest witch in her generation (or probably almost any generation, let’s face it), we think Hermione would get on really well with Granny Weatherwax. Plus, we’d really like
to see Hermione as part of a team of powerful witches without any of those annoying (and, let’s face it, less talented) wizards hanging around.

Merry Cooper (The Witch’s Kiss trilogy)

Merry doesn’t have Hermione’s application and love of studying, but she is really powerful and she’s determined to take care of the people she loves. Definitely someone we’d like on our side.

Meg (from Meg & Mog, Helen Nicoll/Jan Pieńkowski)

Meg’s spells don’t always go to plan, but we’d still love to have her in the coven: for starters we’d get to pet Mog, which we’d love as we’re both cat people. Plus Meg has all the traditional witchy paraphernalia: cauldron, broomstick, black boots, black dress and pointy black hat. The quintessential witch.

Willow (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Super loyal, bookish and fun to hang out with, we think Merry and Willow would get on like a house on fire. Both witches are extremely powerful and at times find if difficult to exercise due restraint: but ultimately both seek to use their power to protect the ones they love. And you can’t blame them for that. Also, being in a coven might help Willow stay on the right side of the line when it came to magic; she has been known to dabble in some very dark spells…

Glinda the good witch (from The Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum)

Glinda’s outfit choice literally makes pink the new black. We’d like our coven to be as blinged up as possible: sparkly ballgowns and jewel-studded broomsticks all the way. No sneaking around secretly for us! Also, unlike some of the other witches in our coven, Glinda has impeccable manners. She’d be useful when diplomacy is required.

Sally and Gillian Owens (Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman)

Confession time: we haven’t yet read the book on which the Sandra Bullock/Nicole Kidman film is based. Still, from the film version, we think these highly talented siblings would be good coven members: just like Merry and Leo, they’re absolutely devoted to one another, working best as a team. Plus, they have fabulous hair, a keen fashion sense and would certainly – along with Glinda – inject some much-needed glamour into the coven. Not a wart in sight.

Arianwyn (The Apprentice Witch, James Nicol)

Arianwyn is a little bit like Mildred Hubble: she gets off to a slow start, magically speaking. Failing her witch’s assessment, she’s sent off to the remote village of Lull to start life as an apprentice, somewhat in disgrace. However, just like Mildred, there’s much more to this resilient and courageous young witch than meets the eye. Not only is she fiercely loyal, considerate and kind, it turns out she’s way more powerful than anyone realised. All in all, she’s a real sweetie – the sort of witch who would definitely have your back.

Witches we definitely WON’T be letting into the coven: Jadis (aka the White Witch from the Narnia books by CS Lewis), Nancy Downs (The Craft) and Bellatrix le Strange (Harry Potter). We just don’t think any of them are really team players… But what do you think? Who would be in your fantasy coven?

Thank you so much to Michelle for being one of our blog tour hosts!

You can buy a copy of The Witch’s Blood here or from your local bookshop!

About Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

We are sisters and best friends (try writing a book with someone else and you’ll see why that last bit is kind of important). After spending our childhood in Essex, we now live ten minutes away from each other in Surrey. We both studied history at university and went to work in London for a bit. Then we stopped working to raise families, because somehow we missed the memo explaining that children are far more demanding than clients or bosses. When we both decided to write novels – on account of fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious we should do it together.

Stuff Katharine likes: playing instruments badly; dead languages; LOTR; loud pop concerts; Jane Austen; Neill Gaiman; Loki; the Surrey Hills. Killing off characters.

Stuff Elizabeth likes: sketching, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, cinema, long baths, kitchen discos, Terry Pratchett, Thor, London. Saving characters.

Stuff we both like: YA / non-YA fantasy and science fiction,Star Wars, Star Trek, each other (most of the time).

You can find out more about Katharine and Elizabeth on their website –

Or why not follow them on twitter – @katharinecorr and @lizcorr_writes

Previously on Tales….

You can catch previous posts by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr by clicking on the below links…

Our Favourite Literary Curses

Our Favourite Magical Moments In Literature

Blog Tour

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

A huge huge thank you to Katharine and Elizabeth for such a superb guest post and for being so lovely to invite me onto the blog tour!  Also a huge thank you to Jess at Harper Collins for having me and sending me a copy of the book.

Have you read any of The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy?  What did you think?  Who would be in your coven?  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!

Tales Post – British Books Challenge – March 2018

Welcome to the British Books Challenge 2018!


And despite all of the snow it is actually March! Spring is almost upon us and I simply cannot wait!

So if your new here – The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running here on Tales Of Yesterday between 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2018 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.

I have created a #BritishBooksChallenge18 summary page here which will also keep track of my own progress in the challenge too.

If you have not signed up yet there’s still plenty of time – find out more about the challenge here

Please note you can sign up to the challenge at any time throughout the year but only sign up entries made on or before the 31st December 2017 will be entered to win the sign up prize.

This is the second time I am hosting this particular challenge and I have lots of things planned for us all to discover some amazing British Authors!

I have been in touch with lots of publishers who have kindly donated lots of lovely prize packs for us throughout the year for the challenge!

Right lets get started!


February’s prize pack was kindly donated by the lovelies at Stripes Publishing and Little Tiger and contained the following 3 books!


There was a fantastic 57 reviews by British Authors linked up on the February linky here!

That makes a total of 153 books by British Authors read and linking up to the #BritishBooksChallenge18 so far!

And thank you for embracing our Author and Debut Of The Month – an amazing 13 of you reviewed Sunflowers In February by Phyllida Shrimpton our debut of the month and/or books by our Author Of The Month Robin Stevens and earned double entries into the prize draw!

That is totally amazing! Thank you to everyone who has taken part!

I’ve picked a winner at random….

And the winner is…….

Donna @ The Untitled Book Blog with her review of Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton



These 3 fab books are all yours!

Please email me your address so that I can arrange for your prize to be sent out to you!



Please bear with me as I am currently still arranged the prize pack – an announcement will be made shortly.



One winner will be picked at random from the list of valid reviews submitted each month and will be announced in the following month’s review link up post. The winner will then have 1 week to contact me to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen. Obviously the more reviews you enter the greater your chance of winning and don’t forget you gain extra entries for any reviews by Debut or Author of the Month for March! It doesn’t matter if you only review one book (or even skip a month or two in the challenge!) you’ll still be entered for each review you do write.

Please Remember…..

Only participants with a valid sign up page that has been linked here are eligible for entry to the monthly prize packs mentioned on this monthly link up page – you can still sign up here

When you add your link to the Mr. Linky below please make sure you link directly to your review, not just to your blog/vlog (invalid links will be deleted)

Books must have been read and reviewed in March 2018 to count towards the challenge , however I am happy that if you read the book in January/February but reviewed in March to link those up as basically you are putting the review up in March – I am hoping that makes sense!

Also, please make sure that the reviews you link are for books written by British Authors – they can be born in Britain (living here or abroad) or they can be adopted British Authors (who were born elsewhere and now live here) but if they don’t fit into one of those categories then they don’t count. (as above invalid links will be deleted and won’t get you an entry into the prize pack). Please note that Britain includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, I’m afraid authors from Southern Ireland don’t count.

Also see the Author Of The Month and Debut Of The Month section for ways to gain extra entries each month!

And lastly feel free to share your reviews on social media using the #BritishBooksChallenge18 hashtag – it’s not compulsory but it would be fun to share any great British Books you have loved with others!

Lets get chatting and celebrating all of the brilliant British books and authors that we have and all of the wonderful British books that we are reading!

Always remember – never tweet an author into a negative review and be constructive.

For more information about the #BritishBooksChallenge18 click here

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge giveaways please contact me by email.


And the #BritishBooksChallenge18 Author Of The Month for March is…….


Eve is an award-winning teen author, experienced school speaker and creative workshop co-ordinator.  She has appeared at several festivals as a speaker, including Hay-on-Wye (2016), Oxford (2016), Highgate & Hampstead (2015) and Chichester.

Eve is experienced in supporting young people within a school environment and is particularly interested in working with beginner writers as well as being an experienced school speaker.


You can find out more about Eve on her website –

Or why not follow Eve on twitter – @EveAinsworth

Touching on mental health, family, friendship and the pressures that teenage carers face, as author Cat Clarke says, TENDER is “a compassionate, compelling and unflinching novel”. Marty and Daisy spend their lives pretending. Marty pretends his mum’s grip on reality isn’t slipping by the day. Daisy pretends her parents aren’t exhausting themselves while they look after her incurably ill brother. They both pretend they’re fine. But the thing about pretending is, at some point, it has to stop. And then what?




Or check out the rest of Eve’s fab books!

Also check out guest posts from Eve on Tales and reviews of Eve’s books…..

Tales Q&A with Eve Ainsworth

Tales Review – 7 Days by Eve Ainsworth

Tales Review – Crush by Eve Ainsworth


Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up any books by the author of the month (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw. So a double entry for one review!

If the author has multiple books and you read them all you will gain a double entry for each review of each book.

Look out for a special post from the lady herself sometime in March and there may also be a giveaway!


If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge author of the month then please contact me by email.


There are so many good debuts coming out this month that it was really hard to decide which to pick…..

So the our #BritishBooksChallenge18 Debut Of The Month for March is…….

The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Steven


A hilarious, groundbreaking young adult novel for anyone who’s ever called themselves a feminist . . . and anyone who hasn’t. For fans of Louise O’Neill, Holly Bourne and Amy Schumer. 

Izzy O’Neill here! Impoverished orphan, aspiring comedian and Slut Extraordinaire, if the gossip sites are anything to go by . . .

Izzy never expected to be eighteen and internationally reviled. But when explicit photos involving her, a politician’s son and a garden bench are published online, the trolls set out to take her apart. Armed with best friend Ajita and a metric ton of nachos, she tries to laugh it off – but as the daily slut-shaming intensifies, she soon learns the way the world treats teenage girls is not okay. It’s the Exact Opposite of Okay. 

Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave and necessary read. For readers of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Doing It by Hannah Witton and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo.

Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. She has an MA in Creative Writing and works at a non-profit organisation supporting women in the creative arts. Her TV pilot, Clickbait, was a finalist in British Comedy’s 2016 Sitcom Mission. The Exact Opposite of Okay is her first book for young adults.

You can find out more about Laura on her website –

Or why not follow Laura on Twitter – @LauraMSteven



Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up a review of The Exact Opposite Of Okay by Laura Steven (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw. So a double entry for one review!

Look out for a special post sometime in March and there may also be a giveaway!


If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their debut through the British Books Challenge debut of the month then please contact me by email.

As well as following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18 I would also suggest following my blog using your preferred feed subscription (by email by filling in the subscription box at the top of my blog , BlogLovin’ etc) in order to keep up with the latest news and posts regarding this challenge throughout 2018!

Thanks for signing up for the British Books Challenge 2018! Happy Reading!

Now for the important part, make sure you link all of your reviews using the Mr. Linky form below. In the Your Name field please include your blog name, the title of the book and the author. Make sure the link takes me directly to your review or your entry won’t count and will be deleted from the list.

Name – Please add your name and blog / YouTube channel e.g Chelley Toy – Tales Of Yesterday

URL – Please add a direct link to your British Books Challenge sign up post here

Guest Post – How I Found Baver and Angel by Amy Wilson

Following on from the fly away success of her debut novel, A Girl Called Owl last year I am honoured to have the magical Amy Wilson on Tales today to celebrate the release of her second YA books A Far Away Magic.

A Far Away Magic was released on the 25th January 2018 published by the lovely Macmillan Children’s Books and is set to whisk you off your feet.

Today Amy is chatting about her characters Angel and Bavar and how they came to be in this fab guest post….

When Angel moves to a new school after the death of her parents, she isn’t interested in making friends. Until she meets Bavar – a strange boy, tall, awkward and desperate to remain unseen, but who seems to have a kind of magic about him. Everyone and everything within Bavar’s enchanted house is urging him to step up and protect the world from a magical rift through which monsters are travelling, the same monsters that killed Angel’s parents.

But Bavar doesn’t want to follow the path that’s been chosen for him – he wants to be normal; to disappear. Fighting one another as well as their fears, Angel and Bavar must find a way to repair the rift between the worlds, and themselves, before it’s too late . . .

How I Found Baver and Angel

The first thing I knew about A Far Away Magic was that it had Bavar in it. He’d been in my mind for years, ever since I’d seen the tall, stooped figure of a boy leaving my local secondary school, alone and hiding behind his hair.

The second thing I knew was that Bavar lived in a huge old creepy house, where ancestors called his name from the walls. There was an aunt, Aoife, and an Uncle Sal, and there was magic.

Bavar and I had quite a few starts together before we found the right story. In my very first attempt, his words came to life around him, letters floating like little clouds everywhere he went. I kind of liked that idea, but it didn’t lead me anywhere. So we were stuck. He just mooched around in my head, for a long time, while I became increasingly interested in how we see others, how we perhaps think we know a person, solely based on how they look, the way they walk and talk, and how many of us carry our scars and differences on the inside.

That, I think, is how Angel came about. She looked like a perfectly normal girl, but she’d been through something that made her as different as Bavar, only instead of that being an external thing, it was internal. From the outside, they might look like Beauty and the Beast, but in fact they are both beautiful, and both beast. It’s when they come together that they begin to sort that out for themselves; to challenge the monsters, and the world’s perception of them.

As soon as Angel came in with her own dark backstory, Bavar and I were moving. She brought the fight, and the desire for change, and she gave Bavar a reason to do the same, and she brought the fight to me too; I had to find a way to make it all okay for them – at the very least, for them to be okay with them.

You can buy a copy of A Far Away Magic here or from your local bookshop

About Amy Wilson

This is me, with my cat Ivy on my shoulder (!) and with my headphones on, mid-writing. I quite often write with music playing, and I wear my headphones even if the sound is off, because it blocks out some of the background noise and helps me to feel like I’m in my own world.

I spend a lot of my time at home writing and looking after various animals and children. I’ve always loved to write, and I feel very lucky that now, after quite a few years of bashing away, it is my job.

I have a background in journalism and live in Bristol. I’m a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing. A Girl Called Owl was my first novel, my second, A Far Away Magic, is out now, and I’m now working on my third!

You can find out more about Amy on her website –

Or why not follow Amy on twitter – @AJ_Wils

A huge thank you to Amy for such a fab post and insight into her characters.  Also a huge thank you to Jo at Macmillan Children’s Books for asking me to host.

Have you read A Far Away Magic?  Are you intrigued?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Guest Post – Inspiration by Emma Craigie

Today is my stop on the fab #YAShot2018 Blog Tour and I have been paired with the wonderful Emma Craigie! YA 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. We 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.

So for our stop I wanted to get to know Emma and her books a little more and to find out a little about her inspiration….

The cutter came last night. I recognized her: her black clothes, her narrow face and the yellow whites of her eyes. 15-year-old Zahra has lived in England most of her life, but she is haunted by memories of her early childhood: the warm sun and loud gunfire, playing with her older sister in the time before “the visitors” came. It is hard to make sense of everything that happened, and it feels impossible to talk about, but when three eerily familiar women arrive unexpectedly for tea Zahra realises that the dangers of the past could still destroy her. What Was Never Said is the powerful story of a girl navigating the demands of two very different and conflicting worlds; a tale of surviving loss and overcoming fears.

Helga’s childhood as the eldest of five children in Germany’s First Family has been a gilded one, accompanying her parents to parties and rallies, moving between the city and their idyllic country estate. But the war has changed everything. And now, as defeat closes in on the Germans, Helga must move into a bunker in the heart of Berlin with her family and key members of the crumbling Nazi leadership – to be with their beloved Hitler. There is chocolate cake for tea every day with Uncle Leader, but Helga cannot help noticing that all is not well among the grown-ups. As each day passes, her underground world becomes increasingly tense and strange. There are tears and shouting behind slammed doors, and when even the soldiers who have been guarding them take their leave, Helga is faced with a terrible truth. Perhaps her perfect childhood has not been all that it seemed…


What Was Never Said is the story of a teenage girl who has to confront a painful past in order to protect herself and her younger sister.   Zahra and her family have come to England to escape war, but there are secrets in the family, and as her parents’ plans become clear, Zahra realises her new life is no longer safe.

The idea for What Was Never Said came into my head on a Saturday morning in July in 2012.  I was sitting in a huge auditorium in Bristol University when a skinny boy stepped across the stage in front of a long row of adults – health and legal experts from across the world – and came to the front holding a hand mic.  The hall fell silent as he began to speak:

You don’t understand how weird it is to be standing here as a MAN, yes, not a boy, a man, from my community, talking about Female Genital Mutilation.  Believe me, Somali men never talk about womens bits, even amongst themselves.

The audience laughed uncomfortably.   I squirmed inwardly.  I had met this boy a couple of times. His name was Mukhtar Hassan, he was 14 years old and a member of Integrate Bristol – –  a group which facilitates campaigns by young people.  Integrate had organised this conference,  the first ever international conference about Female Genital Mutilation, and my immediate feeling was that they had got it wrong.  Muhktar’s words were embarrassingly slangy.  “Bits” made me cringe –  not a word, I felt, which should be spoken in such a formal setting.   I held my breath, hoping things would get better.

I had met Muhktar, his older sister Muna, and the other young members of Integrate when I was doing research for a novel about a group of young friends from different religious backgrounds.    Like many young people in East Bristol they came from a Muslim Somali background – a community where FGM is still often practised.   I was really interested in the boldness and clarity of their campaign.   I didn’t know much about FGM but I soon learnt from them.  FGM is defined as non-medical surgery on the female genitalia. There are a number of different types, all of which cause tremendous pain, bring a risk of infertility and death, and deprive women of sexual enjoyment.   FGM has been carried out in some parts of the world for thousands of years, and is estimated that there are over 200 million women and girls alive today who have undergone some form of it.  It  The World Health Organisation estimates that there are 3 million girls at risk of FGM every year.   These young people were – are – determined to end it and had brought together international experts to determine how that could be done.

Muhktar continued on the failure of Somali men to talk about ‘women’s bits”:

… perhaps thats the problem.  Too many people have been quiet for too long.  But the point is IF FGM is to stop, and it HAS to stop, then everybody, regardless of gender or race, has to take a stand.  I stand here as a brother, a cousin, a son, and a future father… hopefully.  I also stand here as a friend and a human being.

I breathed out. The audience applauded loudly.  Muhktar had not got it wrong.  He had got it completely right.  He had made us uncomfortable and challenged us to overcome that discomfort.   Up to this point, I thought, like many people, that FGM was a bad thing, but that it was not my problem.   Muhktar changed my perspective.   If a 14 year old boy could stand up in front of hundreds of people and talk about “women’s bits” , I could stand up too.   Suddenly the centre of my novel shifted.   I had found the story which I needed to tell.

Chocolate Cake with Hitler is a novel which tells the true story of the children of the Nazi Joseph Goebbels.

Chocolate Cake With Hitler also started with a sudden realisation.    I had long known that at the end of World War 2 Hitler hid in an underground bunker.  I remember picturing it when I was a child, imagining Hitler lying flat in some kind of coffin shaped rabbit hole, hiding from his advancing enemies.   It must have been shortly afterwards that I heard of the fact that Eva Braun, his wife, was with him, as I can remember trying to squeeze her into this imagined bunker.   But it was much later,  long after I understood that the bunker was a concrete network of rooms, full of soldiers and secretaries, and cooks and nurses and doctors, that I learnt that there were six children down in the bunker with him.  And when I realised this, I couldn’t believe it was so little known that there had, at that point, never been a book about them.

There were five girls and one boy, aged between 4 and 12.  The children of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda.   10 days before Germany surrendered, they had decided to show their loyalty to the Fuhrer by joining him underground in Berlin.  They knew the defeat of Germany was inevitable – but that was not what they told the children.   They pretended that they were joining their leader so that they would be with him for the imminent victory celebrations.

I started reading every account I could find of Hitler’s bunker.  The children rarely got a mention.  The person who gave them most attention in her account of her days in the bunker was one of Hitler’s secretaries, Traudl Junge.   There was a particular paragraph in her memoir, Until the Final Hour, that haunted me, and was the inspiration for telling the story of the Goebbels children from the perspective of 12 year old Helga.

Junge wrote that during their time in the bunker the children were on the whole “happy and cheerful…”  They spent their time playing in the bunker corridors and once a day drank hot chocolate and ate chocolate cake with Hitler, often singing German folk songs to him.  Junge tells us, “They knew nothing of the fate awaiting them, and the adults did all they could to keep them unaware of it… Only the oldest, Helga, sometimes had a sad knowing expression in her big, brown eyes… Sometimes I think with horror that in her heart the child saw through the pretence of the grown-ups.”

I was the oldest of five children, and I remember being 12.  It was an odd age – my younger brothers and sisters suddenly seemed very childish, but my parents and their friends were no more interesting to me.  I could hardly bear to imagine a world in which the parents were planning to kill you, and none of your siblings had any idea.   But then I couldn’t bear not to.








You can buy a copy of Emma’s books here or from your local book shop!

Chocolate Cake With Hitler was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie medal and the Financial Times / Authors Club First Novel Award.

What Was Never Said was also nominated for the CILIP Carnegie medal and is a White Raven Book. 

About Emma Craigie

Emma Craigie is a writer and teacher.  She lives in Somerset.

Her most recent novel, What Was Never Said, was nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016 and selected for the White Ravens Catalogue .

You can find out more about Emma on her website –

Or why not follow Emma on twitter – @craigieemma


With thanks to the lovely people at Short Books myself and YA Shot have a copy of each book to giveaway to one lucky winner!







You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 10/03/2018

Good Luck!

Blog Tour

Make sure you follow the rest of the fab YA Shot 2018 Blog Tour!

A huge thank you to Emma for such a fab post which has made me super intrigued to go and grab these books and to Short Books for the giveaway.  Also a huge thank you to YA Shot for having me and for pairing me with Emma.

Have you read any of Emma’s books?  Are you intrigued? Are you going to YA Shot?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Cover Reveal – Glowglass by Kirkland Ciccone

I am over the moon to have been asked by the awesome Kirkland Ciccone to reveal the brilliant cover for his new YA due to be released on the 3rd May 2018, Glowglass.

Kirkland is just fantastic and has gained a reputation as a hugely entertaining YA author and makes me smile all the time.

I am super excited to read Glowglass and of course reveal this truly stunning cover!  I also have a little super fun intro from the main man himself, Kirkland…..

The Blurb


Starrsha Glowglass s face is on the front page of every newspaper. She isn’t a model, Vlogger, or reality TV show contestant. Starrsha is famous for something darker: she survived a massacre that claimed her Brothers and Sisters.

Hers was no ordinary family. They were The Family Glowglass – a religious order set up by an eccentric businessman as a tax dodge. One morning the parishioners sat down to breakfast…Most didn t get back up.

Only Starrsha and her mute Brother, Simon, survived. Both now have a chance to lead an ordinary life. For Starrsha that means high school. Can a videotape bring back the dead? What s behind the red door? Why won t Starrsha s best friend reveal her true sexuality? When is a poster on a wall actually a trap? Will My Chemical Romance reform? Why is Father obsessed with vintage technology? Why does Barbie freak out Starrsha? How many rich husbands has Aunt Imelda bumped off? And why is God crank-calling Starrsha? All will be revealed when someone presses PLAY…

About Kirkland Ciccone

WINNER OF THE CATALYST BOOK AWARD 2014 – Conjuring The Infinite

Kirkland Ciccone writes and performs quirky one man shows for any theatre or venue lucky enough to have him. It wasn’t always this way though. He left school bored and restless, plotting to become a journalist until the time came for him to make a choice – performing arts or writing stories about jumble sales. Fact, in Kirkland’s case, is always weirder than fiction. He has written for cool music ‘zines such as This Is Fake DIY, Rock Louder, Neu Magazine, and Subba Cultcha. His previous shows include In Bed with Kirkland Ciccone, The Dead Don’t Sue, A Secret History, Kirkland Ciccone Plays Pop and others.

Conjuring The Infinite is his first novel.

His second novel is Endless Empress, or to give it the full title, Endless Empress: A Mass Murderer’s Guide To Dictatorship In The Fictional Nation Of Enkadar. An over the top YA book deserves an over the top title!

His latest novel of quirky YA fiction is North of Porter, a tale about a boy who takes on the world armed only with his sharp wit…and expensive designer handbag!

Kirkland lives in Falkirk with his dog Lord Fanny.

For news on upcoming novels, events and general juvenilia:

Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for, but first lets hand you over to Kirkland….

I started writing Glowglass (original title The Gerard Way Fan Club) last year after I’d recovered from A Mystery Illness. I couldn’t walk properly for three months. I was bloody miserable. I’d also found myself battling against a stalker and having to get that sorted out. Anyway, everyone was obsessing over 13 Reasons Why and suddenly there was a vogue for YA novels featuring retro technology. Hipster revivalism is very real. If Glowglass was a song, it might be a diss or response track. Here’s an exclusive: tapes were crap and videos took ages to rewind. Nostalgia is overrated!

In the midst of all this was the rise of the YouTube Vlogger-As-Author. I have no problem with Tallia Storm or ‘Pop Girl’ or the Vloggers – but there HAS to be other points of view, especially in YA fiction, and I see my role as someone to provide that, for better or worse. I’ve always regarded myself as a punk and that inspires everything I do, and with luck there’s a little punk spirit in this cover art. Glowglass will NEVER be on Zoella’s Book Club and it won’t be comfortable reading for everyone. There are no love triangles. The morals are murky. The protagonist isn’t relatable. It’s violent. Dark. Funny. A bit uplifting. And of course it wouldn’t be me if it didn’t spew bile in other directions. It’s also my best book so far. I know we all say that, but there’s something about Glowglass I love. I’m proud of it.

The artwork is by Andrew Forteath.

Isn’t it awesome!!

You can buy a copy of Glowglass here

(Please note that this book is not due for release until 3rd May 2018)

Previously On Tales….

You can find previous posts with Kirkland on Tales by clicking on the following links…

Whatever Happened to Kirky Ciccone?

A huge thank you to Kirkland for the wonderful intro and insight into his new book and for asking me to host the cover reveal!

What do you think of the cover for Glowglass?  Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Kirkland’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

Spotlight – Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley

Today I am spotlighting the second book in this brilliant thriller of a series, Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley and I have a fab extract from the book to share!

Tell No Lies was released on the 19th February 2018 following on from the huge success of Ask No Questions, the first book in the series.

So lets jump straight in….

Now they’re coming after Caelan’s team…

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.

Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.

And then there’s Nicky…

Utterly gripping, written with searing tension and remarkable dexterity, Tell No Lies is a blistering crime novel for fans of Angela Marsons, Rebecca Bradley and Faith Martin.


Caelan didn’t make the call until she had left the train at Canada Water and was approaching the apartment building she had, until the previous evening, called home. Nicky answered immediately and Caelan began to talk, not giving her any opportunity to interrupt.

‘Listen, I’m five minutes away, can you let me in so I can grab some of my gear? I’ll be in and out, don’t want to disturb you. See you soon.’

She ended the call and shoved the handset into her jeans pocket, cutting off Nicky’s voice and ignoring the sting of guilt. Beckett had demanded professionalism, and that was what she would get.

She marched towards the building, six storeys of pale-yellow bricks and immaculate royal-blue paintwork. She smiled up at the CCTV camera on the corner of the building as she walked beneath it, knowing Peter would be manning the reception desk at this hour. The glass door already stood open and she stepped inside. When she had left the previous evening, she had had no intention of ever returning. Now, less than twenty-four hours later, she was back.

‘Caelan.’ Peter was on his feet, clearly confused. ‘Ms Sturgess is here, she’s upstairs.’

Caelan forced a smile. ‘It’s okay.’

‘I wasn’t sure if you knew…’ His voice trailed away and he ran a hand over his mouth, embarrassed.

‘I saw her last night. She’s moved back in.’


Caelan kept walking. ‘I’ll keep in touch, Peter. Say hi to your wife for me.’

He nodded, sensing she didn’t want to talk.

Nicky’s apartment was on the sixth floor. Despite her aching, bruised body, Caelan made herself walk up the stairs. She usually took the lift, but the stairs would take longer, and today, giving herself extra time mattered.

On each landing was a huge window offering a view of the Thames. Caelan paused, looked down at the green-grey water. Peter would have rung to tell Nicky she had arrived. The temptation to turn and run was almost overwhelming. She took a breath, steadied herself. She had done nothing wrong. She had mourned someone she believed to be lost to her, someone she had begun to love. There was no shame in that. She looked up to the floors above, began to move again.

As she approached, the door to number 135 opened. Nicky stood there, dressed in jeans and an old T-shirt Caelan recognised, because it was one of her own. Nicky said nothing, but stepped back, allowing her to enter. Caelan nodded.

‘Thanks. I won’t be long.’ Her chest was tight, her throat feeling choked. She didn’t trust herself to say any more. She still couldn’t quite believe Nicky was here, alive and well though clearly exhausted, her eyes shadowed and watchful. She hesitated, wanting to speak but with no clear idea of what to say.

‘I’ll be in the kitchen.’ Nicky’s face was closed, her arms folded. She turned and walked away. Caelan watched her go, her jaw clenched. She wouldn’t break down again. She was a professional, and she was working. There was no room for emotion.

In the bedroom, she pulled her rucksack out of the wardrobe, filling it with tops and jeans, a couple of hoodies. Underwear, socks. Enough for a few days. She pushed her feet into a pair of gaudy pink and purple Air Max trainers, pulled on a padded jacket. In the bathroom, she grabbed shower gel, toothpaste and her toothbrush. She’d go back to the hotel to shower. The apartment seemed smaller somehow, the atmosphere suffocating. She had enjoyed living here, though it had never felt like her own. Now she knew why. It wasn’t, and never would be. Whatever legal processes had resulted in the property being signed over to her would have to be reversed now that Nicky had reappeared. It didn’t matter.

She heaved the rucksack onto her shoulder and forced herself to approach the kitchen. Nicky sat at the table, shoulders hunched, drinking a glass of orange juice. Orange juice Caelan had bought. She frowned, realising she was being petty, and pushed the thought away.

‘I’m going now,’ she said.

Nicky set down her glass. ‘Caelan, listen. I want you to stay here. This is your home, not mine. I’m going to rent somewhere else.’

Caelan stared. ‘No. I can’t.’

‘I’ve never felt comfortable here anyway.’ Nicky glanced around, her eyebrows drawn together. ‘I don’t want to live here. I’ve spoken to my solicitor. It’s yours.’

‘I don’t want it.’ Caelan hitched the rucksack higher on her shoulder as she turned away. Nicky stood abruptly, the chair legs screeching on the floor, but Caelan didn’t look back as she pulled the door closed behind her.

You can buy a copy of Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley here

About Lisa Hartley

Lisa Hartley lives with her partner, son, two dogs and several cats. She graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies, then had a variety of jobs but kept writing in her spare time. She is currently working on the next DS Catherine Bishop novel, as well as a new series with Canelo.

You can follow Lisa on twitter – @rainedonparade

Blog Tour

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

A huge thank you to Ellie at Canelo for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and host this awesome extract!

Have you read Tell No Lies?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Twister by Juliette Forrest

Today I am thrilled to be shining the spotlight on a whirlwind of a debut novel, Twister by Juliette Forrest!

Twister was released on the 1st February published by Scholastic and is set to be full of twists and turns to keep your head in a spin.

The lovely people at Scholastic have given me some giveaway copies so I thought I would shine the spotlight on this brilliant book in celebration….

Twister’s father has gone missing and as she’s searching for him she stumbles across a witch living in the woods. She is given a magical necklace that holds the souls of living things and can turn the wearer into a wolf, or a rushing river, or a rainstorm. But there’s a dark foe on the hunt for this necklace, a baddie who wears a coat crawling with creatures and who might have something to do with her father’s sudden disappearance…

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

About Juliette Forrest

I blame Rutger Hauer. In 1987 he starred in the Guinness commercials. They made such an impression I scribbled the dialogue all over my school folders. That’s when it struck me I no longer wanted to become an opera singer – I wanted to go to London and learn how to write adverts.

Here I am, a few years down the line, still doing what I love. I’m a freelancer now; I’m just as happy on my laptop in a client’s office as I am working from home. And talking about home, I live in Glasgow with a court jester of a Cypriot rescue dog called Vince.

You can find out more about Juliette on her website –

Or why not follow her on twitter – @jools_forrest


With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic I have 3 x copies of Twister to giveaway to 3 lucky winners.

You can enter via my twitter here

UK Only

Ends 5th March 2018

Good Luck!

A huge thank you to Lorraine at Scholastic for sending me this fab book and for asking me to host this fab giveaway!

Have you read Twister?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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