Category Archives: Action / Adventure

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Abi Elphinstone

I am so excited to have announced yesterday that the brilliant Abi Elphinstone is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for February 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Abi and her books full of fun filled adventure.  With a trilogy not to be missed that all started with The Dreamsnatcher and a brilliant short story collection Abi is a brilliant UK Middle Grade talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a super guest post from Abi this February also with a fab giveaway!

About Abi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER.  This year marks the release of the final book in the trilogy THE NIGHT SPINNER!

When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

The Books and Why We Love Abi Elphinstone

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.

You can find my review of The Dreamsnatcher here

Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late?

In a ruined monastery in the northern wilderness, a Shadowmask called Wormhook sits in front of a spinning wheel. He is spinning a quilt of darkness known as the Veil. A masked figure then carries the Veil across the lands, slipping it through the windows of children’s bedrooms to poison their minds…

Meanwhile deep within Tanglefern Forest, Moll and her wildcat, Gryff, are waiting for a sign from the Old Magic before they continue their quest to find the last Amulet of Truth and free their world from the Shadowmasks’ terrible magic.
Still missing fellow Tribe member, Alfie, and armed only with a mysterious set of clues, Moll sets out on an adventure across the northern wilderness with Gryff and her friend Siddy at her side. They must brave the Lost Isles, scale the Barbed Peaks and face witches, goblins and giants who lurk at every turn . . . while the Shadowmasks draw ever closer.
Can Moll, Siddy and Gryff find the friend they think they have lost? And do the Tribe have what it takes to defeat the Dark magic once and for all?

A beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical short stories from acclaimed children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Berlie Doherty, Lauren St John and Katherine Woodfine, and edited by author Abi Elphinstone.

Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers . . . from classic children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward, Michelle Harrison and Emma Carroll.

An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.

You can buy any of Abi Elphinston’s books here or from your local book shop!

A huge thank you to the lovely Abi Elphinstone fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend all of these books from our February Author Of The Month!

Look out for a super guest post from Abi this February also with a fab giveaway!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Are you an Abi Elphinstone Fan?  Do you have a favourite book?  Are you new to Abi Elphinstone?   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 Q&A With Sarah Forbes










I am super excited to have the super lovely Sarah Forbes on Tales today!

Sarah Forbes is the author of the brilliant Elspeth Hart series published by Stripes Publishing.  With stunning illustrations by illustrator James Brown Elspeth’s adventures to find the truth out about her parents is a must read for children and MG fans alike.

“A fast-paced and funny story from a fresh new voice in children’s fiction, Elspeth Hart’s quirky adventures will delight fans of David Walliams, Lemony Snicket and Roald Dahl.”

A huge thank you to Beth at Stripes for asking me if I would like to feature Sarah on Tales and for going along with my idea.

Today I am lucky enough to have Elspeth (yes you heard me right) on Tales in this fab character Q&A!


Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-offs is the first adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her trainers and unstoppable determination. Can you imagine never being allowed to play outside, dear reader? How about sleeping in a wardrobe every night? That’s what life is like for Elspeth Hart. Ever since her parents were tragically washed away in a flood, poor Elspeth has been forced to live with her disgusting aunt, Miss Crabb, in the attic of the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs. Elspeth spends her days sweeping up mouse droppings, washing filthy pots and dodging Tatiana Firensky, the most horrible show-off of all. But what Elspeth doesn’t know is that things are about to change…


Elspeth Hart and the Perilous Voyage is the second adventure featuring the fabulous Elspeth Hart, a modern heroine with doodles on her Converse trainers and unstoppable determination. Now she’s finally free of the School for Show-offs, Elspeth is on a desperate mission to find her parents. She knows that Miss Crabb will have answers – but where can she find the vile woman? When Elspeth spots her on the news as a staff member on a luxury cruise ship, the chase is on. Elspeth is determined to get the answers she needs and she’ll stop at nothing. Sneaking aboard the ship is easy enough, but setting sail was never part of the plan! All at sea, unable to find Crabb and still no closer to a reunion with her parents, things aren’t looking good for Elspeth…


Elspeth has escaped the clutches of the dastardly Miss Crabb and her sidekick Gladys Goulash and now she’s determined to find her parents. After the dim-witted Gladys let slip that they’d been sent to Australia, Elspeth sets off on their trail, with the help of her best friend Rory and his snooty butler, Mr Tunnock. But Elspeth needs her wits about her as she ventures through the rainforest – there’s something whiffy in the air. Could it be that Elspeth hasn’t seen the last of her enemies?

Hi Elspeth!  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday!  I am so excited to have you here!

Thanks for being here today and agreeing to this Q&A.  How are you?

I’m really good, thank you, except I couldn’t get my hair to cooperate this morning, so it’s all sticking up at funny angles.

For those of us who don’t know who you are could you tell us a little about yourself?

Of course! Hello everyone. I’m Elspeth, I’m ten years old and I have a best friend called Rory. I lived for a whole year in an awful boarding school called the Pandora Pants School for Show-offs.

You have a very unusual name – does it mean anything in particular?

It’s a Scottish name and you pronounce it EL-speth. I think it might be the Scottish version of Elizabeth, but I’m not sure!

Can you tell us a little about how your story started?

It all started when I went to sleep one night as normal, then when I woke up I was in the School for Show-offs, and my aunt Miss Crabb was telling me I had to live with her from now on…

What happened to your parents?

Miss Crabb told me they were washed away in a flood, but I always suspected there might be more to it than that…

Can you tell us a little about your Aunt, Mrs Crabb?

Miss Crabb is tall and skinny and always picking her nose. She is a very nasty character indeed. She hates children, and she especially hates me. She made me sleep in a wardrobe and do lots of horrible chores around the school instead of going to lessons!

Who is Gladys Goulash?

Gladys is Miss Crabb’s sidekick. She worked as her assistant in the School for Show-offs, where the two of them made the most disgusting school dinners in the world. I can’t begin to tell you how awful she smells. She only has a bath once a year, you see.

I hear your third adventure looking for your parents took you to a rain forest!  How was that?

My third adventure, Elspeth Hart and the Magnificent Rescue, was my biggest adventure yet – I ended up in Australia trying to track down my parents, with the help of my best friend Rory. Let’s just say it involved following mysterious clues, being kidnapped and almost getting trapped in a pit of bitey spiders!

Do you think you will ever find your parents?

If you read Elspeth Hart and the Magnificent Rescue, you’ll find out! I don’t want to give it away … shhh!

I hear you love Converse trainers – do you have a favourite pair?

Ooh, I always wear my favourite purple and white ones. But I’ve seen some people decorating their own trainers which looks amazing!

What do you think about how the illustrator James Brown  drew you?  Did he capture the real Elspeth?

James Brown is such a talented chap. He drew me PERFECTLY, every detail looked just like me!

Quickfire Questions

Favourite word?


Favourite Ice Cream?

Mint choc chip

Favourite Colour?

Purple, of course!

Favourite song to sing at Karaoke?

I’m a terrible singer, but I could definitely sing anything by Taylor Swift.

Favourite book or author?

Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

What do you think the future has in store for Elspeth Hart?

Hopefully I’ll be entertaining readers for a while with my three adventures! The future will be happy so long as I don’t have to spend any time with awful Miss Crabb and Gladys Goulash!

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone reading this interview what would it be?

Don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how impossible they might seem.

Thank you so much for answering all my questions Elspeth.










You can buy the Elspeth Hart books here

About Sarah Forbes


Sarah is the author of Elspeth Hart and the School for Show-Offs, Elspeth Hart and the Perilous Voyage and Elspeth Hart and the Magnificent Rescue (Stripes).

Previously, Sarah was Senior Editor at Floris Books and Fiction Editor at Scholastic Children’s Books, where she worked with high-profile authors such as Liz Pichon, Karen McCombie and Dan Freedman.

Sarah also spent ten years as a journalist and magazine editor, writing for a wide range of publications, from The Guardian to Mizz magazine.

Why not follow Sarah on twitter – @SFSsong

About Illustrator James Brown


James Brown filled in an important careers questionnaire when he was 13 and it told him he was definitely going to be a teacher and an illustrator. And it was right! James studied Creative Writing at St Andrews (where he kept writing for children and drawing all over everything). He lives in Nottingham and draws in front of a mirror.

See more of James’ work in the Featured Illustrator Gallery

Or why not follow James on Twitter –  @jb_illustrates

A huge huge thank you to Elspeth for answering all my questions and of course to Sarah and to Beth at Stripes Publishing for putting us in touch!

Have you read any of the Elspeth Hart series?  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!


Guest Post – A Day In The Life Of An Author by Andy Briggs

Iron Fist

Today I am joined by the wonderful Andy Briggs! 

Iron Fist was released on the 5th May 2015, published by Scholastic and is set to be a brilliant MG Sci-Fi / Adventure read!

I have recently received a copy for review and I simply cannot wait to jump in!

Also the design team at Scholastic have done another brilliant job with this cover – it’s stunning!

Today Andy gives us a day in the life of an author in this fab guest post which may or may not be quite what you would expect…..!

*Hands over to Andy*

About Iron Fist

Iron Fist

The Rules: if you find a secret inventory of utterly deadly battle tech.

1) Do not try it.

2) Do not tell anyone.

3) Do NOT let thieves in behind you.

What’s more secret than top-secret? The Inventory. Home to the deadliest inventions the world isn’t ready for. Invisible camouflage. HoverBoots. Indestructible metals. Plus a giant creature of chaos: war robot Iron Fist. No one has ever broken past the state-of-the-art AI security system. (Seriously, most bad guys have no idea this stuff is even there.)

Problem 1: the security robot wasn’t ready for a gang of kids wandering in.

Problem 2: they’ve ONLY brought the ruthless Shadow Helix gang in behind them. Seriously dumb, but it’s a bit late for ‘sorry’.

Say hello to trouble: the Iron Fist is in the wrong hands!

A Day In The Life Of An Author

As an author I often have people come up to me and ask “what the heck are you doing in my garden?” or other questions which basically amount to what is an average day in the life of an author?

So in homage to the wonderful Sue Townsend’s creation, Adrian Mole, here’s my diary:

8:00 – Good morning world! I bounced out of bed, bursting with ideas and inspiration from a refreshing night’s sleep. Ready to conquer those 5,000 words I need to do today! Let’s go get ‘em!

8:03 – The floor was cold so went back to bed because the inspirational ideas faded away as soon as I found a pencil.

11:14 – Must have nodded off. Now up and active! Breakfast here we come!

12:01 – Straight after breakfast I checked my emails and marked the important ones to reply for the moment I have a spare second, including one from my editor pointing out the deadline for the manuscript. Then I researched my book, which mostly involved watching cat videos. Now it’s time for a short lunch.

12:02 – Just noticed that my editor’s email was sent two days ago. Oh, well. Sure he’ll understand.

14:30 – Lunch over! Now to work!

14:33 – My editor emailed again to check my email was working. He’s getting obsessive!

15:37 – After much hard work I had re-read the 234 words I have crafted today. To the uninitiated it may not sound like much, but I finally placed that pesky comma into a sentence. Victory!

15:46 – Deleted the comma. In doing so came up with an idea for a completely new book! Exciting! Time for a break!

16:18 – Fielded a telephone cold caller for the last thirty minutes. Tried to ask his opinion on the plot point that’s nagging me. Doesn’t he realize he’s the only person I have spoken to in the last thirty-six hours? They ended the call promising never to contact me again.

16:47 – My editor called wanting to know how the manuscript was coming along. I decided to let the answer phone take the call as I was in the middle of finessing this cat chapter. It takes a lot of concentration.

17:13 – Tea break! I skimmed through my work so far. What a great start!

17:54 – Another call from my editor. I was about to pick it up, when I was struck by sudden inspiration for the next chapter, so I think he’ll completely understand that I’m not ignoring him.

18:00 – Well, another hard day’s work finished! Now time to relax, take it easy and belittle those on Facebook who think that writing isn’t a real job.

22:02 – Finally log-off Facebook. Social media is an important tool for writers these days. Just remember that, no matter how many times you are blocked from a group, they really do want to listen to you opinions.

23:57 – After waking up in a cold sweat, I decided to delete the cat video sequence from the book. In the end it didn’t seem to make sense in a high-tech action adventure book. Maybe it will work in the next one?

Iron FistYou can buy a copy of Iron Fist here or why not visit your local independent bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here

About Andy Briggs


Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the, 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 over on his website –

Or why not follow him on twitter using @aBriggswriter

Blog Tour

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

Iron Fist blog tour banner

Thursday 5th May

Chrissi Reads

YA under My Skin

Friday 6th May

Powered by Reading

Emma’s Bookery

Saturday 7th May


Luna’s Little Library

Sunday 8th May


Book Addict

Monday 9th May

Tales of Yesterday

Annalise Books

Tuesday 10th May

Snuggling on the Sofa

Bookish Outsider

Wednesday 11th May

Middle Grade Strikes Back

Minerva Reads

Thursday 12th May

Teens on Moon Lane

Library Girl and Book Boy

Friday 13th May

Live Otherwise

Big Book Little Book

Saturday 14th May

Barts Bookshelf


Sunday 15th May

A Bookish Life

An Awfully Big Adventure

A huge thank you to Faye and Scholastic for having me on the blog tour and to Andy for an absolutely brilliant guest post!

You can catch another fab guest post by Andy Briggs about his favourite fictional worlds here

Have you read any books by Andy Briggs?  Does the Iron Fist sound up your street?  Are your writing days like Andy’s?  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 – A Tale Of Yesterday…From The Top Of The World by Matt Dickinson


Today, 10th March 2016, marks the release of the awesome North Face by the inspirational Matt Dickinson published by Vertebrate Publishing!

Happy Book Birthday Matt!

This is the second book in Matt Dickinson’s Everest Files series, which is based upon upon his own experiences of climbing Everest with actor Brian Blessed during the 1996 disaster.

I am lucky enough to have been offered the chance to feature a fab guest post from Matt at part of the North Face blog tour!

First, here’s a  little about the book…..


Ryan Hart is an 18-year-old adventurer on a mission. To get himself to Mount Everest and check out the truth about the world’s highest peak. Friends have told him dark stories about the mountain, outrageous things that he wants to see for himself.

Just a few hours after Ryan arrives at Everest Base Camp a lethal earthquake strikes. Avalanches pound the glacier, burying Ryan’s climbing buddy and killing many others. A desperate rescue saves Ryan’s friend, but only after a local Tibetan girl Tashi helps with the search.

Stress levels are running high among the climbing teams. The mountain is shut for the season because it is judged too dangerous.

Then a flashlight reveals a clue. Someone is alive, high on Everest’s treacherous north face!

Tashi is convinced it is her 15-year-old brother.

Ryan is prepared to risk everything to help.

Storm clouds gather as they set out on their illegal climb, a do-or-die mission which the local militia will do anything to stop.

Sounds awesome right?!

*Hands over to Matt*


Way back in the mists of time (in the 1920s), a British climber by the name of George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt Everest. His answer was a mysterious one:

‘Because it’s there’

It was an enigmatic response, which said everything… and nothing. Yet somehow the quote has endured as a classic Everest truth. We are climbing it, Mallory was saying, because we can.

Nowadays almost a thousand people a year attempt to climb the mountain and (having met a lot of them) I thought it might be fun to come up with my own list of ‘reasons’ why folk are prepared to risk their lives to stand on the ultimate summit!


These are the ‘right on’ men and women who have a direct line to spiritual enlightenment. They go to Everest because ‘up there’ they will be closer to whichever god is most in fashion at that moment. Most often found half naked, humming quietly to themselves, adopting the lotus position, somewhere near the Base Camp rubbish tip.


These are the most honest climbers of all. They don’t pretend there’s any spiritual dimension, they go for the thrill, the rush of risking their lives, and the ‘gnarly dude’ credentials that an Everest ascent brings. Plus, it looks great on your profile!


These Everest climbers are finance folk (men and women) who are extremely rich and go to Everest because they can’t think of anything else to do. Most often found screaming hysterically at base camp managers when they discover they can’t monitor their share portfolio as there is no Wi-Fi on the mountain.


The oldest man (80). The only couple to get married on summit (yes, really!) The youngest girl (13). Most ridiculous thing to do on the summit (someone took a golf club up and smashed a golf ball into near space orbit). Fastest ascent (13 hours!) These are the bizarre accolades that can bring fame and fortune. Every year these fanatics flock to the slopes hoping for their name check in the Guinness book of Records!


Everyone else who doesn’t fit into the above categories.

You have been warned! Climbing Everest isn’t crazy… but the people who do it are!

My final word if you still want to do it: take a good pair of noise cancelling headphones so you can block out the boasts and bluster of base camp chat. And pack a very thick book.

31ADtZ2XpeL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_You can buy North Face by Matt Dickinson here or why not visit your local independent bookshop for a copy.

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

You can catch up or follow 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!

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

Or a guest post about Matt’s book, Lie, Kill, Walkaway here

Are you a Matt Dickinson fan?  Have you read any of the Everest Files?  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 or climbing Everest!



Tales Quiz – Which Phoenix Burning By Bryony Pearce Character Are You?


Today the 10th March 2016 marks the release day of the explosive sequel to last years Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Burning by Bryony Pearce published by Stripes Publishing!

Happy Book Birthday Bryony!

I really enjoyed Phoenix Rising when I read it last year so the sequel has been high up on my want list ever since!


Today myself and the author of this brilliant series Bryony Pearce have put together a fab quiz where we are asking…

Which character from Phoenix Burning are you?

About The Books

61u16NKyQEL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Sail. Salvage. Survive. Toby’s father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they’ve been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it. The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they’re closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting – preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn’t want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance?

61nzuvLWBTL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Toby and Ayla have to infiltrate a sect of sun worshippers to steal the equipment their ships need. They enter a trial to be chosen as the Sun and the Moon, a position of great honour for the sect. As the trial commences, Toby and Ayla discover the true cost of failure. But there are other young couples who are equally desperate to win…Can Toby and Ayla survive days without sleep, hours sitting in the blistering sun and a deadly maze? They’ll need to work together to win – their mission depends on it…

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 Bryony Pearce

Capture40-200x300Bryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and is the author of Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls.

You can find out more about Bryony on her website here

Or check out her other books or order Phoenix Burning here or why not order it in at your local bookshop

You can also follow Bryony on twitter – @BryonyPearce

Check out a Q&A with Bryony Pearce here

Or read about Bryony’s favourite literary pirates here

Or see a quick fire video with Bryony here or more about the cover of Phoenix Rising here

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

Also a huge thank you to Jessie at Stripes Publishing for asking me to feature Bryony on Tales.

Have you read any of the Phoenix Rising or Phoenix Burning?  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!

*sets sail*


Review – Defender Of The Realm by Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Defender of the Realm

I have recently read this fun, action packed MG fantasy by the brilliant duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, Defender Of The Realm which is released today on the 3rd March 2016 and I loved ever page of it!  I am so over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share my thoughts on the book and post a review!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers , Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler and Scholastic for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.

Defender of the Realm

Super-villains. Hungry monsters. One kid to stop them all. Meet King Alfie: fourteen-year-old British monarch and Defender of the Realm. Alfie never expected to become king so young. He definitely didn’t expect to become a legendary superhero: the Defender. Which means fighting an ancient secret battle against mega-villains and evil monsters. All while grappling with adoring crowds, paparazzi and minders. Now the terrible Black Dragon is rising. Only Alfie can stop him. Think being a king is just about wearing a crown? Wrong.

Publisher – Scholastic UK

Published – 3rd March 2016

Pages – 340 pages

Format – Paperback and E-book

Category – MG Fantasy

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful people at Scholastic as part of the blog tour organised by Faye Rogers.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Scholastic for sending this to me to read and to Faye for organising!

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

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Defender Of The Realm, but as soon as it came through the post I skim read the first few pages fully intrigued and I was immediately drawn into a world that mixed the real world and fantasy world flawlessly and all with some historical facts, humour and well known United Kingdom landmarks too!

Defender Of The Realm tells the story or Alfie who is a reluctant heir to the thrown and who finds himself thrust into the limelight to take on his duty a little earlier in life than he would have thought.  What Alfie doesn’t expect is the extra responsibilities that come with it… you know the kind of thing…Crown Jewels, Paparazzi, BECOMING AN AWESOME SUPERHERO CALLED THE DEFENDER AND SAVING THE WORLD FROM THE BLACK LIZARD!  When Alfie becomes King he discovers a whole new duty to his country that is steeped in history and kept a secret for many years.  And when the evil Black Lizard seems unstoppable Alfie has to learn to protect his country, be King and be The Defender, but is Alfie the right person for the job?

This book is a real page turner!

I loved the feel of this book.  It felt so very British.  I loved the way even though the characters are fictional I felt like I was taking a sneaky peak behind the scenes of the actual royal family.  That’s how real the characters came across for me.  I loved the references to historical landmarks or traditions which I recognised like The Tower Of London, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey and the tradition of a Coronation and who knew there was a volcanoes under Edinburgh Castle 😉

You will never look at a Beefeater…I mean Yoeman Warder the same ever again after reading this book…..oh the secrets that they possibly hold!

It really reads like a film.  You could picture the scenes playing out on the screen in front of you.

*Hints for someone to make this into a TV show or film immediately*

To top all of this off this book was not only packed with a brilliant action packed plot and brilliant story line it also had a brilliant cast of superb characters.

I adored Alfie right from the action packed off set!  He is heir to the thrown, but doesn’t want to be treated as such and just wants to be a normal boy who can go out for pizza when he wants to.  As a reader I think you really feel for Alfie and you really want him to do well.  You see him grow and mature slightly throughout the book almost like becoming the superhero Defender brings something out in him that he never knew was there.

I also loved Hayley so so much.  The girl who looks after her gran who is thrust into the middle of the world of Alfie, The Defender and the Black Lizard when a trip to The Tower Of London with her gran turns into a battle and she finds a keeps a piece of the Black Lizards tail!  Hayley was awesome.  She says what she thinks and doesn’t give two hoots what people think.  She is honest, caring, funny and demands her voice to be heard.  The friendship between Hayley and Alfie is a friendship that would last forever.

That’s another thing about this book.  It made me laugh and giggle in places.  There are some classic one liners or comedic moments that really make you grin like a Cheshire cat beaming from ear to ear and make you love these characters and the story even more.

There were two characters especially that did just this for me… Brian and L.C.  Oh how I want them to have their own spin off or sketch show.  They were absolutely brilliant fun.  Always at Alfie’s side, but in roles of responsibility.  Brian was the more carefree of the two trying to always tell the “bad smell under his nose” L.C to give Alfie and often Hayley a break.  I loved how L.C was so traditional and does things by the book and when this does not go to plan he is all out of sorts.  But they both have Alfie’s back.  They were a brilliant comedy duo.  They kind of reminded me a little of Jeeves and Wooster or Hacker and Humprey from Yes Prime Minster.

The scene where L.C takes Alfie into the secret passage from Buckingham Palace to the Tower to a secret under ground lair had me in absolute stitches!  There’s Alfie who is experiencing this for the first time and being told to get in a small carriage as it’s quicker and there’s L.C all laid back like he’s about to board the train with his newspaper.  It’s a brilliant scene.

Also a little shout out to the badies….. Fulcher and Turpin the so called MI5 agents who would give the two wet bandits from Home Alone a run for their money and who I hope will make an appearance in book two.

And there’s the Black Lizard!

*quakes in boots*


*runs and hides*

Yes that’s right there is apparently going to be a book two and I cannot wait!  I need this book now!  Especially with the jaw dropping cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers that this book finished on!  I almost felt the authors write that last line with glee mixed with an extremely evil laugh 😉

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves an action packed, superhero read that will make you turn the page and laugh, but also make your heart beat and with all with a little twist along the way that I for one didn’t see coming.

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

1Defender of the Realm

You can buy Defender of the Realm (Defender of the Realm #1) here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

About Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are Emmy and BAFTA-nominated screenwriters best known for writing popular TV shows such as Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go! 

You can find out more about Mark & Nick on their website

Or why not follow them both on twitter using @huckywucky and @nickostler

Blog Tour

Defender Blog Tour Banner

Monday 29th February

Powered by Reading

Library Girl and Book Boy

 Tuesday 1st March

Book Lover Jo

A Bookish Life

 Wednesday 2nd March

Minerva Reads

A Daydreamers Thoughts

 Thursday 3rd March

Tales of Yesterday

My Book Corner

Friday 4th March


Ya Ya Yeah

 Saturday 5th March

Bart’s Bookshelf

Big Book Little Book

 Sunday 6th March

The Arts Shelf


Have you read Defender Of The Realm?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  I would love to here 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 and defending the country!




Guest Post – Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs By Abi Elphinstone

51WQvFqEfFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Today I am completely over the moon to be hosting a fab guest post and super giveaway from lovely author and brilliant friend Abi Elphinstone!

Abi’s second book, The Shadow Keeper, was released on the 25th February 2016 and throws us into Moll and Gryff’s magical world for a second time!

Myself and my son adored the first book in the series, The Dreamsnatcher last year and we have been craving The Shadow Keeper ever since!

You can find my review of The Dreamsnatcher here or Corey’s review of The Dreamsnatcher here

So today Abi tells us about the Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs and there may be a few special surprises along the way!

Also don’t forget to check out the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post where you could win a set of both books!

51WQvFqEfFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late? Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Michelle Paver and Eva Ibbotson

Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs

When I’m concentrating really hard I don’t write to music. It’s just me and my writing shed. But most of my thinking time takes place on the move with a lot of background noise: kids yelling about One Direction on train journeys to literary festivals, people taking business calls on buses to school events and, if I’m very, very, very lucky, killer whales leaping out of the water on ‘book research boat trips’ (!) in the Arctic. So, I’ve picked out a bunch of songs that got me fired up while thinking about smugglers, secret caves and cliff jumps. Here’s The Shadow Keeper playlist:

The Phantom Of The Opera theme song by Andrew Lloyd Webber

My favourite musical – and the song I listened to while inventing extremely awful things for the Shadowmasks to do…

Sail Away by Enya

I grew up listening to Enya (she’s my Dad’s favourite artist) and I remember hearing this song just before I wrote about the Tribe’s kayak journey to find the last Amulet of Truth.

Hurt by Johnny Cash

Anything by Johnny Cash is incredible and I loved this song so much I borrowed a variation on a lyric for Moll to use right at the end of the book: ‘I want to start again, a million miles from here.’

No One Is Alone from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim

The ending of The Shadow Keeper came to me before the start. I knew exactly what was going to happen, even though every time I thought about it I got a lump in my throat, and I listened to this song on repeat before I wrote the final scene.

The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe theme, original BBC version by Geoffrey Burgon

I watched this series with my family one Christmas (up in Scotland with snow lying thick on the ground outside) and it is one of my happiest memories. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been more magical to me than listening to this song as Lucy Pevensie opens the wardrobe door. And any time I want to write magic into a scene, I listen to this song before hauling out my laptop.

Concrete Schoolyard by Jurassic Five

When the edits are getting crazy, when there is paper strewn about the house and I feel like I am going to mad, I listen to this song and it chills me out :-).

Hold Back The River by James Bay

In The Shadow Keeper you find out who Alfie really is but when I sat down to write the book I had no idea. I just knew that his past was shady. And then, when I was walking down the street to teach a writing workshop, it came to me. I didn’t have a piece of paper on me so I wrote his story on an oak leaf – then I listened to this song.

Grey or Blue by Jaymay

The lovely Louise Corcoran (bookseller extraordinaire at Foyles) sent me a playlist last year and I fell in love with this song. I listened to it when thinking about Moll’s friendship with Alfie (though in the song there’s a lot more kissing and hopping into bed with boys than books for 8-12-year-olds might allow!).

Septimus from the Stardust movie by Ilan Eshkeri

I plan EVERY chase scene (and I plan a lot of chase scenes) to this song. I feel like I, and my characters, can fly while doing multiple leg-kicks and somersaults when this is playing.

The Gael from Last of the Mohicans by Dougie Maclean

When I imagine Moll, Siddy and Alfie with their bows and arrows (and catapults) I see them tearing across the coast with this song blaring around them.

And presenting ……Abi Elphinstone

And not forgetting the author herself in a starring role….. with some of her favourite Disney songs….. move over Taylor Swift!



You can buy The Shadow Keeper here or why not visit your local independent bookshop.









For The Dreamsnatcher playlist, click here.

Check out my review of The Dreamsnatcher here

Or Corey’s review of The Dreamsnatcher here

You can also check out The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher here

About Abi Elphinstone

Abi 1 Norway

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER this year. When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

Abi in Waterstones with Gryff



Would you like to win 1 of 5 signed sets of Abi’s books The Dreamsnatcher and The Shadow Keeper?

The lovely Jo at Angel Publicity has kindly given me 5 sets of these fab books to giveaway…and they are signed too!

Enter below to be in with a chance of winning!

Do check out the terms and conditions…..

UK & IRE Only

5 sets = 5 separate winners winning 1 copy of The Dreamsnatcher and 1 copy of The Shadow Keeper as a set.

Books will be sent straight from Angel Publicity / the publishers so the winners will need to provide there name and address details to myself to pass on.

Giveaway ends 3rd March 2016

Winners will be announced on here and on twitter.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge huge thank you to the lovely Abi for asking me to be part of this wonderful blog tour!

And a huge thank you to Jo at Angel Publicity for the awesome giveaway!

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


Are you excited for The Shadow Keeper?  Have you read The Dreamsnatcher?  Do you love Moll and Gryff?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !


Tales Q&A with Michael Grant



Today, 28th January 2016, marks the release of the brilliant Front Lines by the awesome Michael Grant!

Happy Book Birthday Michael!

I am lucky enough to have received a copy from the lovely people at Electric Monkey and judging from what I have been hearing about this book I cannot wait to read it!

Today I am so over the moon to have the awesome Michael Grant on Tales with a fab Q&A!

E2903_MG_Final_TourButton_been drafted

Hi Michael!  Welcome to Tale Of Yesterday!  I am so excited to have you here!

Firstly a little about the wonderful Front Lines…


It’s WWII, but not as you remember it from history lessons! This time the girls aren’t stitching socks for the brave boys at the front. Meet Rio Richlin and her friends Frangie Marr and Rainy Schulterman, three of the newest recruits in the US Armed Forces. They stand shoulder to shoulder with the boys from home as they take on Hitler’s army.

In the face of reluctant colonels and sceptical sergeants, the soldier girls must prove their guts, strength, and resourcefulness as soldiers. Rio has grown up in a world where men don’t cry and girls are supposed to care only about ‘money and looks’. But she has always known that there is something wrong with this system and something else in her. Far from home and in the battlefields, Rio discovers exactly who she is and what she can accomplish.

Can you tell us a little about Front Lines?

FRONT LINES is an alternate history of the American experience of World War 2 in Europe. I make one big change: I imagine a Supreme Court decision has made women eligible for the draft and service in combat.  From there I follow three young women – girls, really – who enlist.  Rio Richlin becomes a combat soldier, Frangie Marr is a medic, and Rainy Schulterman joins Army intelligence.

What inspired you to write about an alternate World War II where young women are called up to fight alongside men?

 Basically I thought it would be a fun way for me to take the history everyone thinks they know and look at it through a very different lens.

 Can you tell us a little about the main character Rio Richlin?

 Rio is inspired in part by Audie Murphy, a little guy, just 5’5”, who no one thought should be in combat, but who went on to become the most decorated American soldier in the whole war. Rio is under age, she’s a girl from a small town, her father runs a feed store, and her mother has a small dairy operation.  She’s not special or secretly a wizard and she has no powers.  She’s a typical small town girl who gets swept up in the biggest war in human history.

 How important are names to you? Did you pick any of the characters names in Front Lines (or any of your books) for a reason?

 I’ve learned a trick over time: use names that are easy to Google, unique names.

 What was your favourite scene to write?

 Oh, I love action scenes. Those are always my favourite things to write. 

 Do you see yourself in any of the characters in Front Lines (or any of your books) or have you used any of your own experiences in any stories?

 I mostly avoid putting myself or anyone I know into any book. So none of the characters are me.

 If rumours are true we may be seeing Front Lines on the big screen? If you could cast your characters from Front Lines in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

 I have no information on a movie deal, I’m afraid. I’d love to see it happen, but Hollywood sadly does not take orders from me.  As for casting, I don’t really know any actors.  I mean, would I love to see Chloe Grace Moretz doing a GI version of Hit Girl?  Uh, yeah, who wouldn’t?


What would you like your reader to take from Front Lines?

 I don’t think along those lines much. I’m basically an entertainer, I’m not a teacher.  So if my stories entertain you, cool, my work is done.

 What do you think makes a good story?

 Someone you care about has to do interesting things, and have interesting things done to them.

 I was shocked (in a OMG….my childhood….I can’t believe it way) to hear at a recent event that you ghost wrote some of the Sweet Valley High books! Dum dum duuuuummmm! I did not know this!  Therefore we would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Michael Grant?

 1) I was a high school drop-out.

2) I moved in with my wife 24 hours after seeing her through a window.

3) Ialso wrote a series called Barf-O-Rama, under a pseudonym.

4) I quite like being bald, I wouldn’t change it.

5) I would move to London in a heartbeat if I thought I could survive the overcast skies.

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

 Astrid from the GONE series. She’s smart, she’s manipulative, she’s a little bitchy, she’s blond. . . In short, she reminds me of my wife.  And I like my wife.


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

 I didn’t want to be a writer growing up, I didn’t start until I was in my 30’s. I knew I could write, which sounds arrogant, but I knew it.  I just didn’t want to, because I wanted to be the hero, not just write about the hero.  It took me a while to get over that.

 Do you have any favourite world war II reads?

 Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy is what got me thinking about writing about WW2.


And Elizabeth Wein’s brilliant Code Name Verity set the bar pretty high and I was challenged to clear it.

51kbSh5l6JL__SX323_BO1,204,203,200_ Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

 Zebulon Finch, by Dan Kraus. What a great book, what great characters.


What are you currently reading?

 I’m actually re-reading the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser. He uses sex and humour to paint genuinely moving portraits of great historical events and figures. The guy was brilliant.  The whole series is a work of genius.


What is your favourite book of 2015?

 It’s my wife’s book, Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate, of course.

519bewOfQIL__SX325_BO1,204,203,200_ After seeing you and Andrew Smith together at an event this year I think you should write a book together!

 Oh, Andrew and I would commit mutual murder if we wrote together. He’s a planner, I’m an improviser.  He’s meticulous, I’m all about momentum.  He’s an artist, I’m just a storyteller.

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

I start with what I call a Series Bible. This is a document that is part sales pitch for my editor, part overview of the project.  It forces me to think through the concept, though not the story.  In my series bible I’ll have an elevator pitch, thoughts on marketing, thoughts about the psychology and philosophy of the book, character descriptions with photos I pull off the web, locations, etc…

 I use that series bible to convince my editor I have a general idea what I’m doing. Then she signs me up, and I start work.  I start at the beginning, usually with no idea at all what’s happening next, let alone how it will end. 

 Do you have any strange writing habits?

 I have developed this need to write out of doors. Normally I sit in a rocking chair on my deck, which looks out over San Francisco Bay.  If it’s too cold or wet I drive to the Marin Headlands and work in my car.  I drink a whole lot of coffee, smoke a cigar, sometimes write while I have punk or reggae in my ear buds. 

  Did music have any influence the story of Front Lines or any of your books?

 I don’t so much enjoy music, or get inspired by it, as use it.  It’s a tool. I use it to get myself fired up.  It’s my musical cattle prod. 

I know Front Lines is a planned trilogy. Are there any exciting plans for 2016?

 I have already finished Book 2: Silver Stars. January 26, 2016 is Book One, and the next book drops a year later.

 And finally when I are you coming to England again?!

As soon as Egmont wants me there. I love the UK.  Do you know what my current TV viewing consists of?  Downloads of British panel shows like QI, 8 out of 10 Cats, and my favourite, Would I Lie To You?  I am a huge fan of David Mitchell, Lee Mack, Stephen Fry, Jimmy Carr and more.  And of course my addiction to The Great British Bake-Off is well known, especially since in the last series I picked three bakers right at the start who became the final three.  I feel I should have gotten at least a cupcake or a petit four for that feat of prophecy. 

Or maybe you could be on The Great British Bake Off!

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions Michael it’s been brilliant to have you here!


You can buy Front Lines by Michael Grant here or why not visit your local independent bookshop for a copy.


About Michael Grant


Michael Grant has always been fast-paced. He’s lived in almost 50 different homes in 14 US states, and moved in with his wife, Katherine Applegate, after knowing her for less than 24 hours. His long list of previous occupations includes: law librarian, cartoonist, bowling alley mechanic, restaurant reviewer, waiter, documentary film producer and political media consultant.

Grant and Applegate have co-authored more than 100 books, including the massive hit series Animorphs. Grant went on to write The New York Times and international bestselling series, GONE. His BZRK series takes participants on a roller-coaster ride across print and digital venues. His latest series, MESSENGER OF FEAR, is a morality tale, though since it’s written by Michael, the morality may be quite muddy at times. Front Lines, his latest thriller, will leave you turning pages far into the night. It is a reimagining of World War II

Sony and the creative team behind multi award-winning Breaking Bad optioned the TV rights for GONE in August 2013.

Michael, Katherine and their two children live in the San Francisco Bay Area, not far from Silicon Valley. He can be contacted via Twitter @MichaelGrantBks, and

It’s hard to come up with a tagline for such a man. We like ‘Michael Grant is the evil genius of YA fiction‘ but Michael came up with a couple of ideas of his own.

Check out Michael’s Website here

You can buy Front Lines by Michael Grant here

 Another huge huge thank you to Michael for agreeing to a Q&A and to Alice and Egmont for organising!

Are you a Michael Grant fan?  Have you read Front Lines?  What did you think?  Has this Q&A 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!


Cover Reveal – Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


I am delighted to be able to bring you all a fab UK cover reveal for the highly anticipated Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (above) publishing in February 2015 with Faber and Faber!

I have recently been lucky enough to read (thanks to Hannah at Faber and Faber) the first two chapters of this book and I am so super excited to read the rest!  I cannot wait!

So what’s it all about?

Sold immediately at auction across the world, this phenomenal novel is the first in a trilogy packed with shooting contests, train robberies, festivals under the stars, powerful Djinni magic and an electrifying love story. This promises to be a global super lead.

“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.

About Alwyn Hamilton


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

REBEL OF THE SANDS is her first novel.

Find out more about Alwyn Hamilton on her website –

Or why not follow her on twitter using @AlwynFJH 

Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…….

Check out this fab, awesome cover for Rebel Of The Sands!!!


And here it is in more detail……….

Rebel of the Sands


*Grabby hands*

Huge shout out to the design team at Faber and Faber for a stunning cover and brilliant cover reveal gif!

I literally cannot wait for February 2016!

Join in the conversation using the hashtag #RebelSands on twitter 🙂

What do you think of the cover for Rebel Of The Sands?  Did you manage to pick up the first two chapters at YALC?  Are you looking forward to it’s release? 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 joining the rebellion!


Tales Q&A With Bryony Pearce

untitledIn a future world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed, an outlawed pirate crew fight for survival on their ship, the Phoenix, kept afloat by whatever they can salvage or scavenge on the debris-filled seas.

Toby has never known anything other than life onboard the Phoenix and he’s desperate for adventure. But when trouble comes hunting the Phoenix down, Toby realizes that what you wish for isn’t always what you want.

He meets beautiful Ayla from the Banshee, a rival pirate ship and sworn enemy of the Phoenix, and his world is thrown into chaos.

untitled1I am delighted to be finishing off the brilliant blog tour for Bryony Pearce’s new YA novel, Phoenix Rising, which was released on the 1st June 2015, published by Stripes Publishing this will be followed by the exciting sequel Phoenix Burning in 2016!

I recently kicked off the blog tour where Bryony told me about her favourite literary pirates – here !

But first who will you pledge your allegiance to?

 Are you #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew?

I swear my allegiance to the #BansheeCrew !  We are feared and fearless!  We are merciless and amoral!  We believe in the ideals of strict hierarchy.  We are mercenary and we will not show weakness!  We will survive at all costs!

We are determined to get to the island before our sworn enemies, the #PhoenixCrew!

 Are you #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew?  Do you think my allegiance has changed since reading the book or have I stuck with the #BansheeCrew?

Find my revew here

Today I have an awesome Q&A with Bryony all about Pheonix Rising, pirate names, inspiaration and more!

*Hands skull and cross bone flag over to Bryony*

Hi Bryony!  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday!

Firstly I would like to let you know that I am recruited to #BansheeCrew – we are feared and fearless, but please don’t let that affect your answers 😉

Can you tell us a little about your new book Phoenix Rising?


Phoenix Rising is a story of pirates, set in a dystopian future following some pretty massive geopolitical changes to the surface of the planet. It’s a rollicking adventure with a strong environmental message.

Find my review here

What inspired you to write the story of Toby and Ayla?

I enjoy world building and loved creating their world, and I felt that theirs’ was an important story to tell, a lot of fun and with a serious lesson at its core, about trust and relationships.

What made you set the book in a futuristic  world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed?

Toby as a character fit best into a future world and the world I created was, to me, the logical next step to a culture as consumerist and wasteful as our own, a culture where the resources have been used up and which has been turned into a giant junk yard.

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in Phoenix Rising or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

I imagine that all writers put parts of themselves into their characters, sometimes it’s the parts we don’t admit to ourselves, sometimes it’s the part of ourselves that would like to be an adventurous pirate, but cannot. Sometimes it is simply the parts of other people (or ourselves) that we admire, or dislike the most (depending on whether we’re writing a good guy or a bad guy). I see bits of myself in all of my characters. I just won’t tell you which bits!

What would your pirate name be?

According to this great pirate name generator, my name would be ‘Polly “Soft Heart” Peacock’. I’m not convinced frankly, I reckon I’d be way more bad ass!

Oh how fun!  My name is……

Mabel “Tall Story” Glynn!

“The Curse of Skull Sands!”
This pirate be sending off the navy quaking in their boots!


One thing I loved about the book was all the piratey action and ways of living. Did you have to put much research into this or did this come naturally?

A little bit of both, I did a lot of research, I learned a lot about fighting, engineering, the environment, renewable energy sources and so on, plus I can play a mean game of Perudo. But I think a lot of what is in the book comes from my imagination and years of watching old films and reading pirate adventure stories.

You can find Bryony’s favourite literary pirates here

The big question is are you #BansheeCrew or # Phoenixcrew?

Although I love the characters on the Banshee, who are, let’s face it, way more kick ass than those on the Phoenix, the Phoenix would be a much nicer crew to live with. So I’m going to have to say #PhoenixCrew

I can’t believe you didn;t want to join me on the #BansheeCrew!!!    ATTACK!!

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

That’s a really hard one, especially as most of the actors I know are a bit old for the parts. Rooney Mara would be a fabulous Ayla, Josh Hutcherson would be a really great Toby because he has that blend of naïveté and heroic bravery that typifies him and Kento Yamazaki would play Hiko really well.








Oh8e5ANI think these choices are perfect!!

Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Bryony Pearce?

I am a vegetarian

I am scared of the dark

When I’m stressed I love to read Terry Pratchett books (or Urban Fantasy)

I had a total hip replacement in 2007 and still dream about running

I have a cat and two degus, but I’d really like a dog

Could you tell us a little about your other books?

indexAngel’s Fury is a supernatural thriller about a girl who realises that she has lived before and that all of her lives are being manipulated by a fallen angel who is trying to destroy mankind.

indexThe Weight of Souls is another supernatural thriller, about a London teenager who sees dead people. If a ghost touches her she has to avenge its death and when the boy who has been tormenting her for years is murdered, she has to find his killers.

I have another book coming out in November called Runners of Mars (although the title may change). Set on a terra-formed Mars it is about a teenaged girl who wants to become a ‘Runner’ against all her people’s laws.

Oh wow!  This sounds awesome! 

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

I was a huge Anne Macaffrey fan and I wanted to write character driven stories that would touch people as strongly as her work touched me.

indexWhat do you think makes a good story?

There are lots of different ingredients. I don’t like things to be too black and white, I love a good anti-hero – they always draw me in. I like a story to make me think, to deal with issues without being too obvious about it. For me a good story needs to grip me by the throat and not let go until the final word.

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

Tom Pollack City’s Son.


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

I’m pretty easy going (but don’t tell that to my kids), I’d be happy to collaborate with anyone who doesn’t mind working with someone as neurotic as I am!

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

It doesn’t look like anything at first – seriously, I just let things percolate for as long as I can, I don’t even make many notes. Then, once the story has fallen into place I write a synopsis, then I do a chapter by chapter outline. I start writing, essentially filling it in and research the heck out of everything as I’m going along.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I don’t think so, but then all of us writers are a bit strange and I don’t have anything to compare myself too (it’s not like working in an office). Is it strange to work in your slippers and track suit bottoms with innumerable cups of cold tea by one hand?

Recently I asked some lovely UKYA authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters. Did music have any influence in Phoenix Rising?

I don’t listen to music while I write, I prefer silence. That way I can get inside the characters, see what they see, hear what they hear. I’m very immersive.

Can you tell us a little about the sequel to Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Burning and when is it due out?

Phoenix Burning is due out in March and I’m just editing it now. It’s more of a heist novel, as the main characters need to steal some key components to get their solar panels working and it explores a bit more of Toby’s world and the people who live in it. There are crosses and double crosses, lots more action and the return of a character they thought long vanished from their lives.

Thank you so much for appearing on Tales today Bryony!  I can’t wait for the sequel to Pheonix Rising next year!

About Bryony Pearce

CaptureBryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and is the author of Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls.

You can find out more about Bryony on her website here

Or check out her other books or order Phoenix Rising here or why not order it in at your local bookshop

You can also follow Bryony on twitter – @BryonyPearce

A huge thank you to Bryony for the answers to all my probing questions and to Jessie at Stripes for sending me a copy of the book and for having me on the tour!

Check out what Bryony’s reaction to her cover reveal was here

Dont’t forget to check out Bryony’s favourite literary pirates here

Also find out which Phoenix Burning Character You Are here

I also chatted to Bryony at the #UKYAExtravaganza in February 2015 – you can find the full post and goings on here

When I spoke to Bryony at an event in Birmingham she told me a little about Phoenix Rising in her own words….warning – I asked her to describe the book in five words!!  I am a very cruel Captain Chelley!

Don’t forget to catch up on the rest of the brilliant blog tour! 


Who are your favourite pirates in literature?  Are you looking forward to reading Phoenix Rising?  Have you read it already?  Which crew would you like to be or were you assigned to?   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 pirating!


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