Category Archives: Horror

PHBC – Beach Party by R L Stine


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…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with this months pick….

Beach Party by R L Stine

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

Some come to party.  Some come to die.

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Karen lives in sunny LA and her best friend since they were 9, Ann-Marie, is coming all the way from New York to stay.  Karen ditches all parents and takes Ann-Marie to stay in an apartment by the beach for the month!

Oh wow!  Sun, sea and relaxation right?

Well…..no not quite, but there’s lots of dangerous snorkelling, polluted sea water which is as green as pea soup (*heaves*), creepy phone calls and messages, jellyfish and contaminated sun cream!

Sounds kosha to me to be honest…..

Let’s move on shall we!

I missed out a mention to the secret beach party’s, sunbathing, hot men, lots of snogging and some murder!

Murder?!  But you are destroying the dream!

Yes!  Murder my dear friends….murder.  This is Point Horror after all!  And when Karen gets involved with Jerry someone is not happy about it…..not happy at all!

The Girl

Karen Mandell with her straight black hair, oval face, dark skin that always looked like she had a tan, black eyebrows and shocking blue eyes which were so wide and so blue completely won me over at the start with her quick witted since of humour and sarcasm making me feel like she was going to be pretty kick ass.  And she was great….all with the exception of her attraction to danger which she always seemed oblivious too…. lets going snorkelling Karen even though I hate your guts, jump on my motorbike Karen even though you don’t know me and I might be a murderer …. you get the idea.

Mentionable nod to the fact that I was cheering Karen on for throwing THE BEST insults at Vince and his gang of friends who were circling her and Ann-Marie at the start of the book…..she was so close to kicking his botty before Jerry came swooping in to save the day *rolls eyes*

Karen liked driving fast in her navy blue mustang convertible that her Daddy bought her following his divorce from her Mummy and with her crystal from her ex boyfriend Mike (more on him later) around her neck she had a strange tendency to compare everyone to not only famous people of the 90’s (when this book was written), but also animals.

And Karen gets bonus points for not one but two holiday romances!  She snogged two boys!  Although after the snog she had with Jerry I wouldn’t be going back for more!  What a kiss from hell!  Ugh!

She was actually an okay Point Horror girl to be fair.

The Love Interest

Ugh goody two shoes Jerry….or should I say Todd? #PlotTwist Too soon?  *puts plot twist back into the book*  With his preppy looks, straight dark hair, light eyes, perfect straight nose, broad chest, powerful looking arms and a passion for the smell of coconut….he apparently looked like Tom Cruise!

Jerry got on my nerves just a little.  I mean he cheats on his girlfriend Renee and effectively kills her as Todd, but he was just too ugh for me and omg that kiss with Karen sounded excruciatingly painful that I was cringing!  Tom Cruise lookalike or not….I think I will pass.

And I can’t move on without mentioning the quickest ending of all Point Horror’s when we find out that Jerry’s brother Todd died a year before and Jerry, who felt so guilty as he couldn’t help Todd, took on a split personality of his brother Todd who just happened to be evil and a murderer.  How convenient!  The ending of this book was a complete blur following this revelation that we seemed to only have what felt like one paragraph to explain and digest everything.  It actually made me feel a little mad if I’m honest.

The Gang

Best friend Ann-Marie who had been friends with Karen since she was 9 and visiting Karen in LA from New York was not your typical Point Horror best friend.  She was the total opposite to Karen in everyway….thin, looked like a fashion model, straight blonde hair, fashionably short with high cheek bones, pale creamy skin and emerald eyes she had all the makings of a Point Horror best friend but too be honest she didn’t do much at all except get with Karen’s ex Mike and make tea.  Every time Karen was in danger or an “accident” had happened to Karen she was no where to be seen and yes she was our classic Point Horror red herring, but there still would have been a story without her.

Renee, Jerry’s girlfriend, who with her high pitched voice like a little mouse, oval face, big dark brown eyes, frizzy brown hair,  parents in Bel-Air (yes I did sing Fresh Prince), strange sense of humour and passion for Carrie Fisher’s gold bikini was a little possessive over her boyfriend Jerry, but to be fair he basically cheated on her with Karen in front of her face….or at least whilst she was standing in the shadows.  She loved him that much….that he killed her!  Yes!  She didn’t see that plot twist coming when she signed up for this Point Horror!  Poor Renee.  I was actually starting to like her a little too.

Bad boy Vince got Karen all hot under the collar with his bad boy looks and yes I knew exactly where she was coming from with this!  Tall and lanky, dimples in his cheeks, eight ball tattoo on his wrist, short blond spiked hair, a leather and denim combi and diamond stud earrings and to top all of this off …. a motorcycle!  Bad ass or what?!  And then Karen goes and compares him to Sting *bursts balloon with a slow screech*

*looks at picture of young Sting*

*blows balloon back up quickly*

Anyway enough of that….he kept the mystery going all the way through apart from being a complete and utter ugh at the beginning with his gang!  And he gets the girl!  What more can we ask for?!  Oh a proper ending….just putting it out there!

Then we had Mike, Karen’s ex, who just so happens to be in the same place at the same time as Karen.  With his straight brown hair, big broad shoulders, muscular arms, wide neck, round brown eyes and square forehead he seemed okay and I loved the fact him and Ann-Marie have a secret thing which of course Karen finds hilarious (she was the only one).  He looked like Jim Belushi according to Karen…..

Wow Karen has very different tastes in men!

Little mention goes to Marty who I would have liked to have seen more of as he seemed funny. With his curly brown hair, round puffs of cheeks, black eyes, round face, horse scratchy voice and skateboard ….. me and Marty could have been friends but he was whipped away from me!

And let’s not forget Stephanie….you know who I mean right?!

*looks at notes*

*Reads Marty’s girlfriend and long blonde hair*

*moves on swiftly*

Fashion Faux Pas

Ohhh lots of good old 90’s fashion in this one!  I spotted blue sleeveless t-shirts, lots of spandex bicycle shorts, tie dyed jean cut-offs and lots of Day-Glo!

Go 90’s!

Dialogue Disasters

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

“It was bright yellow, burning hot on the outside and frozen solid on the inside”

“Must have been lasagne”

“How did it taste?”

“Fabulous!”

Karen and Ann-Marie are auditioning for the next GBBO hosts!  Someone give them a job!

“Like gag me with a spoon”

Say what Ann-Marie?!  She’s from New York don’t you know!

“She was like a zombie for months.  She’d sit around playing her old Beatles records and cry”

Sounds like a standard Saturday night for me to be honest!

“And your Dad?”

“He’s driving a red corvette and he’s blow drying his hair”

“Weird”

Is it?  Is it really?

“But Karen do you really think this is a good idea?”

“Of course it is – what could happen?”

That old classic Point Horror line!  Your in a Point Horror girls….what do you expect?!

“He looks like a squirrel.  A fat squirrel storing up nuts for the winter”

Harsh Karen!  Harsh!

“That’s Kenny, Alisha, Normy and Seth”  Karen said hi to them forgetting their names immediately

Ah!  The names of the one page Point Horror characters….bless their little cotton socks!

“One kiss and your brain has turned to oatmeal”

To be fair after that kiss with Jerry Karen I don’t blame you!

“She looks like a really scary Jack O Lantern”

It’s the lighting okay?!  We can’t all be blessed with Point Horror standards you know!

Body Count

Oh this one had an actual murder!  And yes I do worry about how excited I got about this ….plus she kind of deserved it!

There was also one off page death from the past, but we all know it’s what happens in the Point Horror story that counts!

Is it scary?

Hmmmm not really scary to be honest however that nightmare/dream that Karen had lit my little horror heart a light with those two pages of gore!  Yes Stiney!  You legend!

Did the best friend do it?

No!  We could only have hoped that Ann-Marie had the umph in her to actually do something really couldn’t we?!

Some Mild Peril?

I would say the beach where they were staying was packed full of mild peril!  Polluted sea, gangs, lots of boys in heavy metal t-shirts (my kind of boys may I just point out) you know that kind of thing.

But yes other than that there was the usual drowning whilst snorkelling, drowning whilst snorkelling again, and jellyfish!  Yes imagine finding all those Jelly fish in your bed! Ugh!  That’s almost as bad as kissing Jerry!

Is it any good?

I actually quite enjoyed this one and flew through this quite quickly.  The ending was a little rushed and sudden and whilst I didn’t see the twist coming (and obviously nowadays I’m not sure if it should have been better handled), but I quite liked the premise and the actual feeling of a who dunnit in this one.

Also a nod to getting rid of the parents straight away at the start of the book with Karen’s parents being divorced and Karen and Ann-Marie staying an apartment owned by her Daddy for the summer who conveniently stayed away longer than planned.  In fact it wasn’t unit page 114 that we saw glimpse of a parent, because strange and scary things are happening to you, but pffftttt who needs their parents when you have sun, sea and jellyfish to contend with.

Final Thought

Stay away from Jerry……except if it’s Ben and Jerry’s because nom!

Cover Wars!

I found this really awesome foreign cover!  Which do you prefer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

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

  • Which Point Horror Boy….Jerry, Vince or Mike?  You decide!
  • Wouldn’t the jelly fish have stung Karen?
  • What was Ann-Marie ACTUALLY doing for the whole book?
  • What happened to Marty and Stephanie?
  • Ending?  Yay or Nay?

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

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

As the next #PointHorrorBookClub with be on the 13th February I have tried to pick a few romance-y Point Horror titles….if that’s even possible!

What will you pick?

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

And the winner was…..a tie!

Therefore I have flipped a coin and picked The Invitation for next months #PointHorrorBookClub!

 

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

Thanksor joining in….

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017


It’s time to share my best books read in 2017!

I have really struggled this year not to just read, but to actually finish books!  You can read about it here

Now again this was not because there were no brilliant books to read, it was all down to me.  I feel I have been so busy with work, fitness, family and blogging that my mind and body just wouldn’t take anymore.  Anyway, needless to say that I have failed any challenges I set myself, but I’m trying not to dwell on that too much.

Whilst I only appear to have read 11 books this year this does not include the 20 – 30 plus books that I started and did not complete *rolls eyes at self*.

Anyway, even out of the books I have read I still had an amazing reading year and have picked some of my favourites below (you can see all of the books I have read here )

These will be listed in no particular order.

Before I start I would like to thank everyone for their support yet again in 2017!  The brilliant book community, all the friends I have made, fab authors for writing fab books and being generally awesome, all the publishers who have sent me books and everyone who has supported me through my third full year of book blogging.

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )


I started the New Year off with such enthusiasm and excitement for all the bookish delights that were awaiting me and the book I decided to start with has ended up being one of my favourite books of 2017!  Caraval by Stephanie Garber captivated me from the very first page.  I don’t normally read a lot of fantasy, but the premise of this book with a circus theme, mysterious feel and set in a magical fantasy world really appealed to me.  I followed Scarlett as she left her tiny isle of Trisda after receiving an invitation from the mysterious Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.  I was mesmerised by the bright and vivid imaginary of Caraval.  I fell in love with characters who made my heartache and turned pages as fast as I could to pull myself further into its magical world.  And yes… I did fall in love with a mysterious, caped man called Legend even though it should have been forbidden and soon realised that I have a problem “thing” for men in capes!  Caraval was a marvel from start to finish and I literally cannot wait for the next book, Legendary, to be released….and yes maybe that is partly because of its namesake *swishes cape* , but mainly because this book was fantastic!

I am a huge slasher horror film lover so this book immediately appealed to me.  The story of a girl who survived a massacre that killed all of her friends and was the Final Girl who managed to escape.  I enjoyed the premise of this book and how being a Final Girl has affected our main character Quincy.  You also got glimpses into the past with flashbacks to the fatal night with the lead up to how the events unravelled right up to the climatic ending which had me on the edge of my seat.  The flashbacks for me had more pull and appealed to the slasher horror lover in me and Sager does not hold back on the shock factor when the events start to unravel.  I can’t wait to see what Sager does next as I will definitely be picking it up!

This book immediately intrigued me as I heard a lot of people talking about it on twitter and as the book is based in a cult it peaked my interest.  I immediately became drawn into the book and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out all about Moonbeam’s story.  And what a story indeed.  The about of compassion I felt for Moonbeam made be root for her all the way.  I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend.

A am a huge fan of Rhian’s already and when I heard about her new book Hope I just couldn’t wait.  From the tag line “Sometimes the end is just the beginning” to the way Rhian deals with subjects like organ donation, PMDD, friendship, family and love.  But most of all this book is about hope event in the darkest and most testing of times when you feel that all is lost.  There is a touching scene in this book that had me in tears which involves a group called Singing Medicine who are based on a real life group that work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who I had the pleasure to meet when I chaired Rhian’s launch for Hope this year.  They bring so much joy by singing to children who are in need of a smile or indeed some hope and even just to watch them myself bought me some comfort and complete joy.  This is expressed completely in Hope and is just wonderful to read.

This gorgeous book has the makings of an instant classic that will be read to children Christmas after Christmas.  It’s heart warming and full of joy.  One Christmas Wish tells the story of Theo and what happens one Christmas Eve when his Christmas decorations spring to life.  The gorgeous illustrations by Emily Sutton reminded me of Raymond Brigg’s Snowman and bought Katherine’s wonderful, delightful words to life on the page.  This is like the best Christmas present all wrapped into one.  Just wonderful.

I adore Holly Bourne and I absolutely adored this book from start to finish.  I loved everything about it.  I loved Audrey and her project about how love is not as it is portrayed in the movies.  I loved Harry the loveable, funny love interest and I loved the cinema setting especially as I have been spending a lot of time in the cinema myself this year.  There were references to movies some of which I had heard of and some of which I am now going to seek out and discover, but most of all Holly’s writing is an absolute delight and this book made me smile from ear to ear.


So there you have it! My best books read in 2017! I highly recommend all of these books!
2018 looks set to be a fab year and I simply can’t wait to get back on track and read all of the fab books!

I would love to hear what your favourite books read in 2017 were? Are any of them the same as mine? Why not leave a comment or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy

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


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

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

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

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


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

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

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

*Hands microphone to Michael*


The Point Horror Time Capsule

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

Point Horror.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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


About The Big Comfy Bookshop

Name: Michael

Role At The Shop: Owner, general operation mastermind

Favourite Book: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Likes: Books and music

Dislikes: Amazon, Kindles, Spiders and The Future

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

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

Or why not follow them on twitter- @bigcomfybooks


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

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

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

For all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new click here

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

*claps hands excitedly*

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

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Guest Post – Top Five Halloween Reads by Chris Priestley


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Top Ten Halloween Reads

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

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

The Ash Tree – MR James

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

The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

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

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

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

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

The Shining – Stephen King

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

Ringing the Changes – Robert Aickman

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

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

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

Or why not add it to your Goodreads list here


About Chris Priestley


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

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

Or why not follow Chris on Twitter – @crispriestley

Or Facebook and Instagram


Blog Tour

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


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

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

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Growing Up With Point Horror by Michelle Harrison


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

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

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

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


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

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

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

*Hands microphone to Michelle*


Growing Up With Point Horror

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


About Michelle Harrison

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Or why not follow Michelle on twitter – @MHarrison13


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

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

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

For all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new click here

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

*claps hands excitedly*

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

Happy Point Horror-ing!

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Top Tips For Aspiring Horror Writers

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

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

1.

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

2.

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

3.

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

4.

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

5.

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

6.

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

7.

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

8.

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

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


About Danny Weston

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


Blog Tour

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


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

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

Happy Reading!

PHBC – The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick


Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s? The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book. There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

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

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

Join in the discussion with this months pick….

The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

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 here!


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


The Tagline

Shop till you drop….dead

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Things are disappearing all over the mall, but no alarm systems are going off!

Ohhhhh creepy!  Tell me more!

Well The Mall was apparently one of the very first Mall’s and was built into the surrounding mountains…like a huge creepy house with secret passage ways, dodgy lighting, creepy elevators and surround by fog…..

Stop!  Not about the actual Mall we are here to read about the actual book!

*coughs*

Sorry I got a little carried away then….

Trish Somerfield has just started working at The Mall at Muffin Mania serving muffins to all manner of people….including a creepy guys who loves muffins a whole lot!

I mean you gotta love a good muffin right? *scoffs muffin*…tell me more….

And then the creepy phone calls start, numerous amount of car trouble, mysterious tapes, dead bodies and the feeling that someone is watching Trish every where she goes……

*chokes on muffin*

The Girl

Good old Trish Somerfield…..well she was our classic Point Horror girl really….you know the type….never thinks guys are after her, doesn’t do dares, Mom out of town in Europe somewhere……yes that old chestnut!

She wasn’t the brightest spark bless her…..I mean who gives their full address and details and the fact she is home all alone to a man who insisted on putting a band aid on her knee….oh yes that’s right…..Trish or Point Horror Girl.

*rolls eyes*

To be fair she did have everything thrown at her – fooled by grey wigs and beards, creepy phone calls, fake car accidents, car trouble complete with scraping sounds, seeing dead bodies in bin bags with ice picks sticking out of them….you know just the norm really.

She did give us some great moments though.  Some classic Trish/Point Horror moments.  Like the time she tried on a dress in the changing rooms and felt like someone was watching her so she LEAVES THE CHANGING CURTAIN OPEN!  NO TRISH!  JUST NO!  Oh and how could we forget when she fell off that escalator…..oh come on we have all done it *chuckles*  Oh just me then?

*coughs*

*moves along swiftly*

Awwww maybe we are being a little unfair on the poor thing….she was actually being stalked to all kinds of wrong levels, but of course she had everything under control.

Disclaimer – she really didn’t!

She kind of redeemed herself when she bravely goes to try and help her friend Imogene when she thinks she has been taken by the stalker…..she takes a lot of time to go down in the creepy elevator to save her friend only just to turn and run back at the first sign of a bloody ice pick!

In fact Trish does a lot of running back…gets a creepy call in the library….decides to run out of the back door, car breaks down….decides to run back to the Mall, creepy man tries to put a band aid on her knee…..sit’s there and trusts him….

She is not our best Point Horror girl we have ever had, but she certainly made me laugh quite a lot…even if this was perhaps unintentional….

The Love Interest

Storm Reynolds….I mean what a name!

*sniggers*

All I kept thinking about was Gladiators (you know the 90’s TV Show not the film or the historical gladiators lol).  The music even played in my head every time he appeared on the page.  Anyway, it turns out there was only a Storm in the American Gladiators so I’m not sure what planet I was on!  But the pleasure was all mine googling him….

Anywho….moving on….

Storm Reynolds (*plays Gladiators music*) with his high cheekbones, cute grin, thick dark hair, his tall slender well built frame, broad shoulders and lean muscle forearms was our love interest/red herring/ undercover cop ……yep you heard me right…..Stormy went all 21 Jump Street on us!  Kind of unbelievable I know… I mean who would have thought that the guy who cocks his head to one side when he speaks, takes women to secluded run down cottages and kisses them was a cop and not some kind of serial killer lurking in the shadows of the Mall.

Also what was with Storm actually man handling Trish and physically forcing her out of the library against her will….not on Storm Reynolds….not on at all.

I don’t think I was too keen on old Stormy….just ugh!  UGH!

The Gang

We had some great supporting characters in The Mall…

Best friend Nita Hanson….who made me think of actual Hanson…you know MMMBop….what happened to me whilst reading this book!?

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes Nita Hanson with her short blond hair, pretty face and tall willowy dancer frame made me laugh lots.  I loved her!  I also love how she loved muffins with no calories in them….yes please Nita although I’m kind of off muffins at the moment for reasons explained below.  She was quirky, boy mad, flirty and just hilarious.  The perfect Point Horror best friend!

Then there’s Imogene….Nita’s twin sister, but the total opposite.  SHE WORKED IN A BOOKSTORE!  That’s all you need to know!  What can top that!  With her mousey hair, round stare (?), wise old owl woman with glasses to big for her face and who eat, sleeps and breathes her work (I mean who wouldn’t …she works in a bookshop) and she always had a theory about everything.  I loved her too….and not just because, I think I forgot to mention, SHE WORKED IN A BOOKSTORE!

Wyatt….the total opposite of our Storm Reynolds….and yes you have guessed it….Chelley had a thing for Wyatt!  With his long combed back hair, holey jeans, combat boots, denim jacket and quirky personality….what was not to love?  And he loved rock music!  Teenage Chelley’s dream come true!  My love for Wyatt this time round came form the Nina and Wyatt car scene!  Classic!  Loved it!  And just like Storm he turned out to be an undercover cop…..where has he been all of my Point Horror life?!

Mystery Creepy Man aka The Muffin Man aka Athan – you know that protector, that guardian, that devoted keeper, THAT STALKER! With his pointed chin, pale complexion, smooth palms, soft voice, gaunt pale face and numerous disguises including grey wigs, facial hair and fake scars what’s not to love.  And lets not forget his passion for ice picks!  I will never ever look at or eat a muffin in the same way ever again *passes sick bucket*  He really did give me the creeps and that was even before he watched Trish sleep in her hospital bed and her little pulse at her throat *shudders*!  I give him one thing though….he took making a playlist tape for your beau in the 90’s to a whole new level!

I’m just going to be quite blunt and come out and say it but he was a borderline rapist and basically a paedophile.  It was well creepy and so wrong on so many levels.  So wrong in fact that it made me actually wonder how the hell this was published for teenagers!  That was some serious creepiness that was just plain wrong!

Special mention goes to mean manager Bethany who was the most frustrated manager on earth who had apparently worked in every store and failed and who apparently was the owner of the Mall’s wife.  I bet stalker features didn’t really kill her off that’s all I’m saying……

Anyone for ice….I mean muffins?

Fashion Faux Pas

I think I was too busy thinking how on earth was this acceptable for teenagers to read so may have missed some fashion Faux Pas but I did notice a denium jacket with the sleeves cut off!

Good old 90’s eh?!

Dialogue Disasters

“Storm Reynolds.  With a name like that he should be in the movies”

Or Gladiators….just saying!

“The way that honey looks on your fingers…..one could almost….taste it”

*gags*

“I’m eating the muffin….it tastes like you”

Ewwwwwww.  I just can’t!

“This can’t be happening to me.  Things like this don’t happen to real people in real life”

Well duh….you’re in a Point Horror and this is the 90’s!

“Oh Mom of all times for you to be out of town….”

Trish has never been in a Point Horror before….this is her first time…..she’s a lucky thing!

“Where’s my Mother?”

“We couldn’t find anyone who’ll claim you”

Awwww Trish….maybe not so lucky? *coughs* *convenient* *coughs*

“We don’t have any all-night guards here at the mall”

I’m really not sure why I wrote this down, but it must have amused me in someway?!

“Then why don’t you ask her who she’d rather be with?”

Storm knows how to be the best kind of cop and prioritise the best questions for interrogation!

“What are you doing?”

“I want to show you something”

“What?”

“Take it easy.  You’re going to like this”

“I want to go home.  Please….I don’t feel good, I….”

“This will make you feel good…trust me”

And here we were thinking that the creepy muffin man was the stalker…..This was actually Storm……You know the super cop off Gladiators!

“Oh how could I have been so stupid”

*stares at Trish with that look….yes you know the one*

Body Count

I counted 3 possible dead people persons!

We had Freida at the beginning – remember her?  Possibly killed …. not sure this was ever confirmed?

Bethany……but she kind of deserved it!  You thought it too *gives stare*

And then of course the potentially dead, but still possibly alive bad guy Athan who in classic horror movie style disappeared after being shot!

Dum dum duuuuuummmmm

Is it scary?

I will admit I thought the whole lift scenes were terrifyingly scary…..the whole lift doors opening and the lift getting stuck and dropping and the person on top of the lift shaft….my little heart was racing so much at that point.

Other than that…..not particularly scary, but the presence of the actual Mall and the atmosphere it created gave the book a chilling feel.

Oh and those spider webs / spiders in the tunnels at the end……we all know what it’s like to walk through a spider web but can you imagine it being thick and full of spiders……oh my….I just can’t type any further about this…..*freaks out*

Did the best friend do it?

Erm…no….we had some creepy muffin man stalker who was all kinds of wrong on so many levels!

Some Mild Peril?

That lift!  Oh my gosh!  That was terrfifying!

And okay I guess being stalked by some creepy, muffin lovin guy who wants to marry you!

Is it any good?

This was basically a Point Horror version of Phantom Of The Opera…..you know it’s true!

I thought it was actually an okay read….but so so wrong on so many levels, but in a weird kind of way….

There was no big reveal even though we were meant to think that Storm and Wyatt were the red herrings and I think it’s important to remember what Richie said herself in our interview we did with her….this was one of the book that actually wasn’t written for the Point Horror brand, but was branded as such in the UK and other countries as it fitted the banner of the market.

Not my fave Richie Tankersley Cusick, but still a worthy addition to the Point Horror collection.

Final Thought

Honey Muffins…..

Cover Wars!

I found this really awesome alternative cover!  Which do you prefer?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to you!

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

  • What actually happened to Freida?  Did it get forgotton that she went missing on the first page?  Did they ever find her?  Was it death by ice pick?  YOU decide!
  • What would you do in The Mall after dark?
  • Exactly how old were Storm and Wyatt?
  • What would your Mall shop be called?

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

Also one of Point Horror Book Club members, Mark, who lives in Australia as been in touch with some wonderful people….

*hands over to Mark*

What do ‘Star Wars’, ‘Batman’ and ‘Bob the Builder’ have in common? Stumped? I’m not surprised! The answer is that they all involve actors who were part of the Point Horror Tapes (PHTs) between 1994 and 1997! As a club we touched upon this series about 18 months ago when we listened to ‘The Accident (PHT 5)’ as part of our review. After collecting all 8 tapes over the past few years, I thought it would be fun to see if we could learn a bit more about this part of the PH universe and I have been fortunate enough to make contact with William Dufris, Laurel Lefkow, Garrick Hagon and Liza Ross who were all involved in the series over its journey. They have all graciously agreed to field some questions from the PHBC gang, so please send your best-est queries through to Chelle ASAP! For those of you without a totally ace twin cassette boombox, might I suggest a quick trip over to YouTube where you can listen to all the PHTs J

A brief background…

William, Garrick and Liza met around 1990 – 1991 in London when their work with film dubbing, audiobooks and BBC radio dramas brought them together. All three already had lengthy resumes (just check out IMDB!) and around 1994 they made the decision to produce some work of their own and, after looking around for a suitable project, it was actually Garrick and Liza’s daughter, Allison, who suggested that they look into Point Horror. With the PH line only being relatively new in the UK (the first titles published in the UK were around 1991), Scholastic’s David Fickling was obviously keen on the idea of the creation of a series of audiobooks when the idea was brought to him and William, Garrick and Liza’s new production company, The Story Circle, was created.

Although published in the UK, the PH titles were still very American, so the first challenge for the fledging Story Circle team was to locate as many quality US actors working in the UK to help bring the stories to life. Laurel Lefkow, fresh off her role as Florence Maybrick in the Edward Woodward hosted ‘In Suspicious Circumstances’, was exactly the type of actor the Story Circle needed and she was to soon feature regularly in the series, including lead roles in ‘The Cemetery’ (PHT 3) and ‘The Witness’ (PHT 6).

All 4 of our PHBC guests are still very active in the industry – acting, producing and directing – so we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to speak with them and, on behalf of the PHBC, I extend a warm and sincere thanks to William, Garrick, Liza and Laurel for their time.

So do you have any questions you would like to ask William, Garrick, Liza and Laurel?  Leave your questions in the comments below……

Vote for the next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

What will you pick?

NB – As I’m so late getting this post up and really want to get the next one up on the 13th September I have picked the next read already and will start the voting for the next read next month.

Our next Point Horror Book Club read for the 13th September is…….

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

*hands microphone to Mark*


Thrills, Chills and Nightmares – Point Horror Box Sets

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

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

 So let’s start at the start…

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

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

·         Slumber Party (1985) – Christopher Pike

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

·         Twisted (1987) – R. L. Stine

·         The Lifeguard (1988) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

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

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


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

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

·         Weekend (1986) – Christopher Pike

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

·         The Accident (1991) – Diane Hoh

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

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

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

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

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

 Version 1:

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

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

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

 Version 2:

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

·         Trick or Treat (1989) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

·         Party Line (1989) – A. Bates

·         Prom Dress (1989) – Lael Littke

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

 So our time line now reads:

 1988 – TCN

1989 – MTCN

1990 –

1991 – TCN (re-release)

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

·         My Secret Admirer (1989) – Carol Ellis

·         April Fools (1990) – Richie Tankersley Cusick

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

·         Final Exam (1990) – A. Bates

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

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

Please feel free to comment below.

Mark


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

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

*claps hands excitedly*

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

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

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


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

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

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

You can find all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

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

Happy Point Horror-ing!

Guest Post – Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day by Sharon Gosling


I am super excited to be part of the fab blog tour for a new addition to the brilliant Red Eye Series, Fir by Sharon Gosling!

The Red Eye series published by Stripes are a series of individual YA Horror stories to chill the blood and scare you to the core.  Books published in the series include Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell and Sleepless by Lou Morgan.

Fir was released on the 9th February 2017 and I simply cannot wait to read it!  I brilliant addition to the Red Eye Series.

And as it’s Valentines Day today…..

HAPPY VALENTINES!

We thought it would be great to share some heart racing alternatives to Valentines in the scary guest post…..

*evil laugh*


Moving from Stockholm to an isolated pine plantation in northern Sweden is bad enough, but when the snows come early and all links between the Strombergs and the outside world are cut off, it gets worse. With only a grudging housekeeper and increasingly withdrawn parents for company, there is nothing to do but to explore the old plantation house. Anything to stay out of the endless pine trees pressing in on them. But soon it becomes clear that the danger within the old plantation house is even greater than what lies outside…

A chilling YA horror, perfect for fans of Dawn Kurtagich, Juno Dawson and Stephen King.

Heart Racing Alternatives For Valentines Day

Why rely on a date to make your evening on Valentine’s Day? Far better to get your heart racing with a good scare! Here’s Sharon’s top tips for an alternative Valentines.

Books

The Bunker Diary – Kevin Brooks

There was an outcry when Brooks’ tale of a group of people locked in a bunker by an anonymous madman won the Carnegie Medal in 2014. It certainly shook me up – I had nightmares for weeks after reading it. It’s an uncompromisingly bleak story, all the more horrifying for the absence of any supernatural entity to take the blame. This is man’s inhumanity to man, writ large and horribly believable.

Florence and Giles – John Harding

This has the feel of the Henry James classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, though there are no ghosts here – there’s only the growing, helpless sense that what we’re reading might be a rather twisted view of what’s actually happening. Set in New England in 1891, the book is told from Florence’s point of view, the older of two children who have been left in the care of a rich and mainly absent uncle. Convinced that the people charged with looking after her and her little brother are unfit and possibly malevolent, Florence takes it upon herself to make sure Giles is safe. Brooding, creepy and shocking.

Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell

I love the believable mythology Bell has woven into this tale, which lends a real sense of anticipation to the action and takes the idea of possessed dolls to a whole new level. The action hits the ground running from the first page with some ill-advised meddling with an Ouija board app and winds up the tension from there. There’s a sequel coming soon, too, which I can’t wait to read!

From a Buick 8 – Stephen King

I love Stephen King and although this might not be an obvious choice for a horror from his bibliography, this is one of the first of his I read and it’s stayed with me ever since. The idea that something as mundane and apparently harmless as a car can harbour such terror and other-worldliness opens up a universe of possibilities.

The Lottery – Shirley Jackson

This short story from 1948 has become a classic of the horror genre and yet the terror in it comes not from blood and gore but from the complicit silence that reigns at its conclusion. Oh, what one human is willing to do to another.

Films

The Babadook

It’s about the evil residing in a children’s book – what’s not to like? It’s also really beautiful to look at and the child actor in it (Noah Wiseman) is unsettlingly talented.

The Mist

Based on a Stephen King novella, although the film alters the ending to make it even bleaker. Gorgeously shot by Frank Darabont, it’s worth watching in the claustrophobic monotone that the director describes as his preferred version.

The Descent

Darkness, enclosed spaces and people-eating monsters – I managed to watch this film once at the cinema but have abandoned all subsequent viewings as it freaks me out too much! Note: if you want to experience the full horror, make sure you watch the UK version – the US version features a different, more upbeat, ending.

 The Others

A classic ghost story with a great cinematic twist – the scene with the little girl in the veil really creeped me out.

The Hole

The 2001 film, not the 2009 one with the same name. My love of unreliable narrators is making itself felt with this one – it’s the story of a group of teenagers who get someone to lock them into an underground bunker to avoid school. Thora Birch is brilliantly ambiguous as the under dog (or is she?) and my scalp prickles as I remember the conversation in which it’s pointed out what will happen to them if the one person who knows they’re down there gets hit by a truck.

TV

The Fades

From 2011, this BBC mini-series is what Iain De Caestecker did before he went Stateside to join Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Paul keeps seeing visions of the apocalypse and the spirits of the dead. It’s creepy, with some great acting and a real sense of dread.

Stranger Things

I loved this, not only for all the pitch-perfect 80s observations of the genre and great soundtrack, but also for the genuinely scary nature of the monster and the ashy hopelessness of the alternate plane.

The Walking Dead

Zombies have been everywhere for a long time, but they’ve never been done better on television than in this adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic series – and the human characters show themselves to be as capable of acts of horror as the mindless undead.

The X Files

The first episode I ever saw was season one’s ‘Darkness Falls’, in which Mulder drags Scully out to a remote, ancient forest. There they find that illegal logging has released a miniscule bug, dormant for centuries, that really likes eating human flesh. I was thoroughly scared and definitely had a few nightmares as a result. Cut to however many years later, and my new book FIR involves an ancient forest and the forces willing to do anything to protect it. I guess it really stuck with me….

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


About Sharon Gosling

Sharon started off as an entertainment journalist, writing magazine articles and books about science fiction television shows. She’s also written, produced and directed audio dramas. In 2011, she wrote The Diamond Thief, (originally published as an ebook under the title Remy Brunel and the Ocean of Light). Published in traditional format by Curious Fox as their launch title in 2013, The Diamond Thief went on to win the Redbridge Children’s Award in 2014. The sequel, The Ruby Airship, was published in April 2014, and the final book in the trilogy, The Sapphire Cutlass, in April 2016. Sharon also still writes books about television and film – most recently she has co-written tie-ins for the Planet of the Apes and Batman vs Superman films as well as the television series companion The Art and Making Of Penny Dreadful, all for Titan Books.

Sharon and her husband live in a very remote village in northern Cumbria, surrounded by fells, sheep, and a host of lovely neighbours who will one day make very good characters in their own book. When she’s not writing, she bakes a lot of cake and bread, attempts to grow things in an allotment, and catches the baby rabbits unhelpfully brought in by the cat.

You can follow Sharon on twitter – @sharongosling


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to the lovely Sharon Gosling for such a fab heart racing post!
Also a huge thank you to Charlie at Stripes for organising and having me as part of this fab blog tour.

Have you read Fir?  What did you think?  Are you a YA Horror fan?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Juno Dawson


I am so excited to have announced yesterday that the brilliant Juno Dawson is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for January 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Juno and her books whether it be YA Horror, YA Contemporary or Non Fiction, Juno will captivate you with her writing.  Juno is a brilliant UKYA 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 Juno’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  January link up here you will gain an extra entries into the January Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a Q&A with Juno this January about her new book Margot and Me!


About Juno Dawson

Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.

Her next novel is the beautiful and emotive MARGOT & ME (Jan 2017) which will be followed by her adult debut, the memoir THE GENDER GAMES (Jul 17).

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up, MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education.

Juno’s titles have received rave reviews and have been translated into more than ten languages around the world.

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman.

Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music. In 2014 Juno became a School Role Model for the charity STONEWALL.

You can find out more about Juno on her website – www.junodawson.com

Or why not follow Juno on twitter using @junodawson


The Books and Why We Love Juno Dawson

Fiction

Something wicked this way comes…

She thought she’d be safe in the country, but you can’t escape your own nightmares, and Lis London dreams repeatedly that someone is trying to kill her.

Lis thinks she’s being paranoid – after all who would want to murder her? She doesn’t believe in the local legends of witchcraft. She doesn’t believe that anything bad will really happen to her. You never do, do you? Not until you’re alone in the woods, after dark – and a twig snaps…

Hollow Pike – where witchcraft never sleeps.

One year after the suicide of their friend Janey, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They’re hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives, claiming to have evidence that Janey’s suicide was actually murder. When the guest is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of the group – but who is it? And will they strike again?

A compelling psychological thriller – with a dash of romance.

Drip…drip…drip… In five days, she will come…

Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror – five days – but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before… A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from ‘Queen of Teen’ author Juno Dawson.

You can check out my review of Say Her Name here

Meet Molly Sue. Once she’s under your skin there’s no getting rid of her…

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.

A funny and moving love story about friends, first loves and self-discovery by the Queen of Teen 2014.

When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are, all in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria . . . but then there’s Polly. Love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

An exclusive World Book Day story from UK Queen of Teen Juno Dawson. Avery has always suffered at the hands of bullies, so when she’s given a seemingly-miraculous opportunity to join the ‘A-list’ she grabs at it with both hands. But appearances can be deceiving, and soon Avery’s not so sure she likes this new version of herself. And it’s only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin.

Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery . . . and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart . . .

Please note this book is due for release on the 26th January and can be pre ordered here

Non Fiction

In this essential guide to growing up, acclaimed author and former teacher Juno Dawson, writing as James Dawson, gives readers the gritty truth to what’s going on with their bodies, how to survive on the social food chain and much more!

A funny and pertinent book about being lesbian, bisexual, gay, queer, transgender or just curious – for everybody, no matter their gender or sexuality

Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author Juno Dawson gives an uncensored look at what it’s like to grow up as LGBT. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know – from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more. Spike Gerrell’s hilarious illustrations combined with funny and factual text make this a must-read.

From the critically acclaimed author of THIS BOOK IS GAY,  Juno Dawson.

We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Covering topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, Juno and Olivia talk clearly and supportively about a range of issues facing young people’s mental health – whether fleeting or long-term – and how to manage them. With real-life stories from young people around the world and witty illustrations from Gemma Correll.

 

Short Stories

Juno also has original short stories featured in these brilliant anthology’s

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts – both brand-new and old favourites – about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak, Patrick Ness and Andrew Smith, and with a new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

The UK’s top Young Adult authors join together in this collection of new stories and poems on the theme of home.

Contributors include: Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah.

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity. To find out more about Crisis, see www.crisis.org.uk

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


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

Look out for a Q&A with Juno this January about her new book Margot and Me!

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

Are you a Juno Dawson Fan?  Do you have a favourite Juno Dawson book?  Are you new to Juno Dawson?  Which book do you think you would read first?   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!

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