Category Archives: Humour

Spotlight – AniMalcolm by David Baddiel


Today I am honoured to be part of the Lollies 2017 Blog Tour featuring a book that will guarantee to have you laughing you little socks off!

That’s right I am hugely honoured to be shining the spotlight on the super funny AniMalcolm by the hilarious David Baddiel illustrated by the hugely talented Jim Field.

And for my stop on the tour I have an amazing signed giveaway!

But first lets find out about The Lollies and this years shortlist of amazing super funny books….


About The Lollies

Michael Rosen, children’s novelist, poet and former Children’s Laureate, today announced the shortlist for the 2017 Laugh Out Loud Awards (The Lollies), a set of awards, now in its second year, created by Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, to celebrate the funniest children’s books.

Having long championed humorous books for children Rosen said of the shortlist: “This is a collection of 12 whizzy, crazy, hilarious books. They are guaranteed to tickle. Parents and teachers wondering how to keep your children interested in reading, why not start here? And you can always start them off by reading them out loud – funny voices an’ all!”

Rosen and his judging panel, consisting of Nicolette Jones, journalist and Sunday Times Children’s Book Editor and Katie Thistleton, presenter and host of the CBBC Children’s Book Club, were tasked with making the selected shortlist from over 130 books submitted by children’s publishers.

The Lollies are awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8s and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13s. The shortlisted books in each category are as follows:

Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book

Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books)

Eat Your People by Lou Kuenzler and David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books)

Prince of Pants by Alan Macdonald and Sarah McIntyre (Scholastic)

Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton and Neal Layton (Hodder Children’s Books)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds

Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake and Martin Chatterton (Firefly Press)

Hamish and the Neverpeople by Danny Wallace and Jamie Littler (Simon and Schuster)

Eddy Stone and the Epic Holiday Mash-Up by Simon Cherry (Usborne)

Future Ratboy and the Invasion of the Nom Noms by Jim Smith (Egmont)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds.

I Don’t Like Poetry by Joshua Seigal (Bloomsbury)

The Best Medicine by Christine Hamil (Little Island Books)

My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons and Laura Ellen Anderson (Nosy Crow)

AniMalcolm by David Baddiel and Jim Field (Harper Collins)

The winning book in each category will be decided solely by children’s votes, with schools and parents encouraged to help kids get involved and vote via the Lollies website, www.scholastic.co.uk/lollies, or via the Scholastic channel on the PopJam app.

The winning books will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in January 2018.

The Lollies were created in response to findings from Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report, (www.scholastic.co.uk/readingreport) which found that what two-thirds of children aged 6-17 looked for when choosing books for themselves were ‘books that make me laugh’.


About AniMalcolm

From David Baddiel, the brightest new star of children’s books and winner of the LOLLIES award, comes a laugh-out-loud adventure for every child who ever wondered what it might be like to be a bit of an animal…

Malcolm doesn’t like animals.

Which is a problem because his family love them. Their house is full of pets. What the house is NOT full of is stuff Malcolm likes. Such as the laptop he wanted for his birthday.

The only bright spot on the horizon is the Year Six school trip, which Malcolm never thought his parents would pay for. And yet there he is, on the bus, heading to… oh no. A farm.

Over the next days, Malcolm changes. He learns a lot about animals. More, in many ways, than he would like. He learns what it’s really like to be an animal. A whole series of animals, in fact…

It does make him think differently. And speak differently. And eat differently. And, um, smell differently. But will he end up the same as before?

Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is… yourself.

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


About David Baddiel

David Baddiel is an author and comedian. He has written and performed in a series of highly successful TV comedy shows, including The Mary Whitehouse Experience and Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned. His debut children’s novel, The Parent Agency, was the bestselling 9-12 debut of 2014 and was hailed by the Guardian as ‘funny, sometimes moving and always engaging.’ The Person Controller is his second novel – and it confirms David as a brilliant and original new voice in children’s fiction. He lives in London.

About Jim Field

Jim Field is an illustrator, character designer and animation director.

From music videos and title sequences to illustration and picture books, Jim has worked on a variety of projects.

His first picture book, CATS AHOY! written by Peter Bently and published by MacMillan won the Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2011.
In 2013 Jim designed and art-directed the interactive children’s exhibition ‘Journey to Space’ at Discover Children’s Story Centre.

He has since illustrated children’s books with Kes Gray, Michelle Robinson,Rachel Bright, Michael Broad, Jeanne Willis, Steve Cole and comedian David Baddiel.

Jim now lives in Paris with his wife, daughter and a small grumpy cat.


Giveaway

I have 3 signed copies of AniMalcolm by David Baddiel to giveaway with thanks to the lovely organisers of the Lollies and Harper Collins!

I am running the giveaway via twitter here

UK Only

Ends 29/09/2017

Winners will need to provide a mailing address to me to pass onto the publishers to send out your prize.

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Antonia and all at the Lollies for asking me to host and be part of this fab blog tour and of course for the awesome giveaway!

A huge good luck to all of the Lollies 2017 nominees!  You are all fab!

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

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Editing Emma by Chloe Seager


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for the awesome Editing Emma by the even more awesome Chloe Seager!

Editing Emma was released on the 10th August published by the lovelies at HQ and I have already heard such wonderful things that I cannot wait to jump right in!

So today I wanted to shine the spotlight on this wonderful book and tell you a little but more about it…..


‘According to Netflix, this is NOT how my teenage life is supposed to look.’

When Emma Nash is ghosted by love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any girl would do – spends the summer avoiding all human contact, surrounded by the Chewit wrappers he left behind.

Seeing Leon suddenly ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, however, spurs Emma into action. She vows to use the internet for good (instead of stalking Leon’s social media),chronicling her adventures on her new Editing Emma blog.

But life online doesn’t always run smoothly.

From finding her mum’s Tinder profile, to getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s virginity… Surely nothing else could go wrong?!

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


About Chloe Seager

Chloe Seager grew up in East London with her Mum and much-loved cat, Katie. She studied English Literature and Drama at the University of East Anglia, where she sadly realised she couldn’t act, but did rediscover her love of children’s books.

Children’s Literature was one of her favourite modules, and it made her wonder why grown-ups ever stopped reading them. She now works with YA and kids’ books full-time. Chloe lives back in East London with her boyfriend and pet fish.

You can follow Chloe on twitter – @ChloeSeager


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to HQ and Chloe for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Editing Emma?  What did you think?  Did it make you laugh?  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 – Where It All Started…. by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison


I am super excited to have the super funny Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison on the blog today to celebrate the release of their new book Freshers.

Freshers was published 3rd August by the lovelies at Chicken House and it set to make you laugh your little socks off!

So today Tom and Lucy are taking another trip down memory lane and telling us where their writing partnership began…..


Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?


Where It All Started…..

It’s not a strictly a university memory, this one, but we thought we’d share a little memory of the origins of our writing partnership. Because this not-very-impressive-looking piece of pink paper marks the first time that we ever did anything creative together.
 
 It was in the sixth form at school – a play called ‘In The Name Of Love’ which was co-written by Tom, and starred Lucy. It was an absolutely shameless rip-off of a very good comedy play called ‘Noises Off’, and it was about the final episode of a trashy American soap opera. Tom played a slightly insane elderly British actor, and Lucy played a high-pitched, screaming Valley Girl. 
We had only met a few months back and were just starting to become mates – but we got together, and started going out, at the after-cast party for this play. 
During this, and the other plays we were in together at school, we realised how much fun it was working together, coming up with silly, funny stuff. We both went off to York Uni afterwards and we didn’t really do anything particularly creative during our time there, but we always planned to. And then, after graduating, we started trying to come up with ideas for stuff we could write. We first experimented with writing (half a) sitcom script about a boy and a girl in their early twenties, but it was fairly awful. And then Lucy had the idea to try and write a dual narrative YA book, and now, five years and three books later, here we are! But it was this little scrap of pink paper that started it all… There’s actually a DVD of the play somewhere, although I think it would be too excruciatingly embarrassing (for us) to ever watch…
You can buy a copy of Freshers here or from your local bookshop!
You can see a previous post about Tom & Lucy’s favourite funny books here

About Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Lucy Ivison, lives in London and is a school librarian who runs an online teen magazine, Whatever After, as well as teaching in girls’ schools across London specialising in building confidence and creativity.

Tom, currently living in Paris, is a journalist and has written for ShortList, Time Out, Vice, talkSPORT, ESPN and Viz.

You can follow Lucy on twitter – @lucyivison


Blog Tour

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


Another huge thank you to Tom & Lucy for a brilliant guest post!

Also a huge thank you to Nina Douglas and Chicken House for asking me to feature this and for sending me the book for review!

Have you read Freshers?  What were your thoughts?  Are you intrigued to read this book after reading this post?  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

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – Extract From The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig by Emer Stamp


My son, Corey, and I LOVE Pig!  We have followed him on his fun filled adventures for a while now and we were over the moon to hear about the release of the new installment The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig!

The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig was released on the 4th May 2017 published by Scholastic.  We knew Pig’s adventures were going to make us laugh lots….and we did!

For my stop on the blog tour I have a brilliant extract from the new book to get you excited about Pig’s new adventure….


I is Pig. This is my diary and I doubts you will believe any of it. In fact, if you is the kind of farmer what finds it hard to believe unbelievable stuff, you should put it down RIGHT NOW. I wouldn’t blame you. If I was reading it I would be like, ‘Don’t be silly! Stuff like this would never happen to a pig, it’s totally impossible.’ But it’s not. Just ask Duck, or Cow, or Ki-Ki, or Rusty. They’d all tell you. It’s all 1000% true and 10,000% BONKERS!


Extract From The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig

You can buy a copy of The (Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers) Diary Of Pig here or from your local bookshop!

You can find previous posts with author Emer Stamp by clicking on the links below…..

Favourite Scenes From The Pig Series

Corey’s Corner – Review – The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary Of Pig


About Emer Stamp

Emer Stamp is the author and illustrator of The Unbelievable Top Secret Diary of Pig. Emer grew up on a farm in Devon before training in graphic design and working for some of London’s top advertising agencies. She was the Creative Director for the Adam and Eve DDB communications agency, which creates advertisements for clients including John Lewis, Halifax, Cadbury’s and Save the Children. She lives in London.

You can find out more about Emer and Pig here or on the Goodreads page here

Or why not follow Emer on twitter using @emerstamp


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Katrina at Scholastic and Emer for having me on this fab blog tour!

You can find previous posts with author Emer Stamp by clicking on the links below…..

Favourite Scenes From The Pig Series

Corey’s Corner – Review – The Seriously Extra Ordinary Diary Of Pig

Have you read any of Pig’s adventures?  What did you think?  Do you have a favourite moment?  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!

Spotlight – Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green


Today is my turn on the brilliant Noah Can’t Even blog tour and I am super excited to be spotlighting this debut book by Simon James Green with a fab giveaway!

Noah Can’t Even was released on the 4th May published by Scholastic and from what I have heard already you will be laughing page after page!

So for my stop on this fab blog tour I am spotlighting this fab author, illustrator and book!

Also do check the bottom of the post for an exciting event announcement and giveaway!


Painfully geeky Noah Grimes is desperate to do whatever he can to survive school. He thinks his best chance at social normalcy is to start up a romantic relationship with the wonderful Sophie, but his plans are hopelessly derailed when his best (and only) friend Harry kisses him at a party. And that’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

You can buy a copy of Noah Can’t Even here or from your local bookshop!


About Simon James Green

Simon James Green grew up in a small town in Lincolnshire that definitely wasn’t the inspiration for Little Fobbing – so no-one from there can be mad with him, OK? He enjoyed a classic British education of assorted humiliations and barbaric PE lessons before reading Law at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he further embarrassed himself by accidentally joining the rowing team despite having no upper body strength and not being able swim. When it turned out that being a lawyer was nothing like how it looks in Suits or The Good Wife, and buoyed by the success of his late night comedy show that involved an inflatable sheep, he travelled to London to pursue a glamorous career in show business. Within weeks he was working in a call centre, had been mugged, and had racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt. Finding strength and inspiration in the lyrics of Tubthumping by Chumbawumba, he eventually ended up working on a range of West End shows and UK tours, co-wrote a feature-length rom-com for the BBC and directed Hollyoaks for C4 / Lime Pictures. After trying really, really hard, he also managed to write Noah Can’t Even. If you are interested in stalking him, he still lives in London, where he spends a lot of time telling people that Noah Can’t Even is only partly autobiographical, and his mum has definitely never done a Beyoncé tribute act.

You can find out more about Simon on his website – www.simonjamesgreen.com

Or why not follow Simon on Twitter – @simonjamesgreen


Event Alert!

You can catch Simon James Green on tour at the following destinations with the super funny Beth Garrod and Stephanie Kate Strohm and I’m chairing the Birmingham Event!

Come along and watch the shenanigans unfold!

Details here……

Join Simon James Green (Noah Can’t Even), Beth Garrod (Super Awkward) and Stephanie Kate Strohm (It’s Not Me, It’s You) for this hilarious panel as they discuss the importance of funny books and reveal their characters’ most embarrassing moments (and a few of their own!) chaired by UKYABA award-winning blogger Chelle Toy from Tales of Yesterday.

Simon, Beth and Stephanie believe that laughter truly is the best medicine in a world that can be increasingly negative, so sign up and get your cure!

We hope you can join us for a wonderful evening fully of awkward, funny and cringeworthy stories!

This is a free event but seating is limited.
To reserve your seat please call us on 0121 633 4353 or buy your ticket here
Email us at events.birmingham@waterstones.com
Tweet us at @bhamwaterstones
Or speak to a bookseller in store.


GiveawayTo celebrate the release of Noah Can’t Even I have decided to host a little giveaway through twitter!

I have one copy to giveaway to one lucky winner!

Head over to twitter here to enter!

UK Only

Ends 31st May 2017!

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Olivia at Scholastic and to Simon James Green for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Noah Can’t Even?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Five Favourite Scenes from Dougal Daley by Jackie Marchant


Today I am super excited to have a fab guest post from the author of a brilliant ne MG series, Dougal Daley:  It’s Not My Fault!

Dougal Daley:  It’s Not My Fault!  was released on the 4th April 2017 published by Wacky Bee Books and is available in paperback and is illustrated by Loretta Schauer!

So for my stop on this fab blog tour the brilliant author Jackie Marchant has recruited some fab people to share their favourite scenes from the book in this awesome guest post…..


I, Dougal Daley, am dead! Ok I’m not actually dead. But if I’m not careful I soon will be.

 In this first book, football-loving Dougal Daley finds himself at risk from the mysterious creature living in the garden shed. Nobody believes him but as a precaution, he sets upon writing his will – rewarding those who help him and disinheriting those who get on his bad side. Meanwhile, as limbs and windows alike are broken by rogue footballs and unhinged canines, Dougal finds himself in all sorts of trouble. . .and NONE of it is his fault!


Five Favourite Scenes from Dougal Daley

First of all, thanks Chelley for asking me to guest post on your blog.  Always happy to do the honours for anyone enthusiastic about books and reading!

Now, you’ve asked for my five favourite scenes from the first in my Dougal Daley series – It’s NOT my Fault.  So, I asked five random (well, sort of, in that I asked them first to give me their favourite scene – and here they are!  (In no particular order . . .)

From Kathryn Evans – the Bra Wrestling Scene:

“It’s Mrs Witzel’s fault. She really ought to know better than to lean over the fence to stroke the dog while she is hanging up her washing. Especially when she is holding a bra.”

Ah ha ha – we know what’s coming and are already chuckling in anticipation and the scene doesn’t disappoint. Honestly, these books are hilarious – tightly paced and very funny. It’s hard to combine writing slapstick humour with a taut plot but Jackie Marchant does it with fur on. And bras. Annoyingly brilliant. Wish I’d written it.

Kathryn Evans is the author of the award winning More of Me (Usborne) 

www.kathrynevans.ink        @mrsbung

From Jeanie Waudby – the Meeting the Creature in the Shed Scene

My favourite scene is the one in which Dougal closes himself in the shed to prove to his nosy neighbour that there’s nothing in there:

‘The smell was like our dog, but ten times worse. The noise was like the dog’s heavy breathing, but ten times louder. At first I could only see a large lump in the gloom, but then my eyes adjusted and I could see long, shiny black fur. And claws, even bigger than I remembered.’

I like Dougal’s stoical determination to get on with the job of looking after the creature in spite of all the difficulties. His ability to get into trouble at the same time as having such good intentions reminds me of Richmal Crompton’s William books – both are great if you want a laugh.

Jeannie Waudby is the author of One of Us (Chicken House) 

http://www.jeanniewaudby.com/    @JeannieWaudby

From Loretta Schauer – the Rabbit Droppings Scene

I like the scene where Dougal tries to give Mrs Grim a gift of rabbit droppings disguised as chocolate covered raisins.  But he’s caught and made to hoover the car as punishment, which means the cat escapes and is chased by the dog into Mrs Grim’s garden, who comes storming round to complain, slips and breaks her leg.  Dougal is grounded even though none of it was his fault – it was Sybil who tried to give him the rabbit poo raisins in the first place.

Loretta Schauer is the award winning illustrator of the Dougal Daley Series. 

  http://www.lorettaschauer.com/   @Loretta_Schauer

 From Louise Jordan – the Escaping Hamster and Crawling Ants Scene

I think if I have to pick a favourite scene I’ll go for the scene where the hamster escapes and hides behind Dougal’s Perspex boxed ants nest to get away from the cat, which alerts the dog, who picks up the ants’ nest and manages to break the box.  The ants crawl all over Sibble. I love the thought of Dougal giving all the ants names…ant 1, ant 2, ant 3 all the way to ant 196, when he had to stop counting because they all moving around and he may have counted some of them twice!

Louise Jordan is Queen Bee at Wacky Bee Books – publisher of the Dougal Daley Series

  http://www.wackybeebooks.com/  @WackyBeeBooks

From Stephanie Roundsmith, the dog, the zebra crossing and the tights scene:

Dougal Daley is one of the most loved books on the kidsreadwritereview reading scheme. The readable and fun writing style makes it widely accessible for younger readers, whilst the plot and characters keep children entertained from beginning to end.  Most children love the scene where the dog has eaten a pair of Mum’s tights and then squats on a zebra crossing in front of a queue of cars, while they ‘come out of the other end.’  They also love the handwritten notes from Dougal and his friends.

Stephanie Roundsmith is manager of the wonderful KidsReadWriteReview

http://www.kidsreadwritereview.co.uk/ :  @kidsrwreview

Thank you to Kathryn, Jeannie, Loretta, Louise and Stephanie!

You can buy a copy of Dougal Daley:  It’s Not My Fault here or from your local bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here


About Jackie Marchant

Dougal Daley was inspired by a messy bedroom and a random question from my son about writing a will. Dougal Daley has been huge fun to write about – you wouldn’t believe the disasters that happen around him (none of which are his fault of course)! When I’m not writing I love doing school visits and creative writing workshops. I also take time away from the writing world looking after guide dogs while their owners are away.

You can find out more about Jackie on her website – www.jackiemarchant.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @JMarchantAuthor

About Loretta Schauer

I originally studied performing arts and have a degree in Dance Performance – well you never know when you need a quick pirouette! I also worked in practical conservation for a long time, and spent many years battling balsam, identifying lichen, and searching for creepy crawlies before I picked up my pencils and paints and began exploring illustrating and writing for children. In 2011 I won the Waterstone’s ‘Picture This’ competition and I now illlustrate full time. However I am still happiest noodling around for fossils and shells on the beach!

You can find out more about Loretta on her website – www.lorettaschauer.tumblr.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @Loretta_Schauer


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Jackie for a fab guest post and to Faye Rogers for having me as part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read Dougal Daley:  It’s Not My Fault?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  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!

Tales Q&A with Aaron Starmer


Today is the UK release day of an explosive new YA, Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer!

‘Truly the smartest and funniest book about spontaneous combustion you will ever read’ JOHN GREEN, #1 bestselling author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

Happy UK book birthday Aaron!

Spontaneous is a fab YA full of humour and fun!

I am super excited to have been able to pop some questions to the author himself about the book and beyond in this brilliant Q&A…..


Mara’s senior year is proving to be a lot less exciting than she’d hoped, until the day – KABAM! – Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason, while the students continue to pop like balloons. But if bombs or terrorists or a government conspiracy aren’t to blame, what is?

With the help of her oldest friend, her new boyfriend, a power ballad and a homemade disco ball, will Mara make it to graduation in one piece? It’s going to be one hell of a year, where the only test is how to stay alive and where falling in love might be the worst thing you can do . . .


Hi Aaron!  Thanks so much for being here today to answer some questions about your explosive new YA book, Spontaneous!

Can you tell us a little about your new explosive new YA novel Spontaneous?

I’d love to! The concept is pretty simple actually. It’s about spontaneous human combustion. That is, people suddenly going up in flames (or, in this case, exploding!). There’s a high school and during the first week of the school year, one of the seniors randomly explodes. No explanation. Just POP! Then a few weeks later it happens to another senior. Then another, and another, until the world realizes there’s something wrong with this particular class of students. A lot of people speculate about what caused it (drugs, sexuality, etc.), but the story is ultimately about how it affects these kids, and the main character in particular.

 Can you tell us a little more about the main character Mara?

The best way I can describe her is to say that she’s straightforward. She says what she’s feeling and thinking, which isn’t always nice. She makes jokes at inappropriate times. Some people find her hilarious, while others might think she’s callous. At times, I guess she’s likably unlikable (if that’s a thing). But as the story goes along, I hope most readers see that there’s more to her than brutal honesty and sarcasm. She’s just trying to survive in the only ways she knows how. And she does care…a lot. You see that when she falls for a guy named Dylan and when she struggles to hold onto her best friend, Tess.

 What inspired you to write about teenagers who could blow up without warning or explanation?

It just seemed to fit. When you’re a teen, every event, every emotion, everything about life feels, for lack of a better word, combustible. Or at least it did for me. Like it could all end in an instant. And sometimes it does. Some of my first experiences with loss were when I was a teen. And I wanted to explore that in the bloodiest, funniest, most dramatic and literal way possible.

 On a serious note Spontaneous explores friendship and goodbyes how important was it to get this balance right between humour, honesty and tugging on our heart strings?

The trick is to ground as many things as you can in reality. The premise is absolutely absurd and that’s where the humor comes in, but you can’t make the reactions or plot twists absurd as well or else readers won’t connect with the characters. So I constantly had to think about honest, human reactions. Which means there’s a lot of confusion and vacillating emotions in the book. Also a fair bit of apathy (these are teenagers, after all). I treated it as if it were the story about a contagious virus. How would the world react to that? How would individuals?

 I hear Spontaneous is in development to become a film!  Who would be your dream cast?

I haven’t really thought about that, because I don’t want to get too excited about something that’s still a long shot (and I have no power over casting decisions). A very talented writer is working on the screenplay, so I’m just excited to see that when it’s finished. If it does actually go into production, I’d love it if they could cast actual teens rather than twenty-somethings playing teens. Actual teens would bring the awkwardness and insecurities that I think are essential for a story like this.  I’d love to hear suggestions, though!

 If you had to live in Mara’s hometown how would you make sure you survived?

There’s a character that’s mentioned briefly who builds a suit of armour out of duct tape to try to protect himself. It doesn’t work…obviously. That’d be me. A bit paranoid and willing to try anything to survive.

In five words – what should people expect if they picked up Spontaneous?

Blood. Laughs. Questions. Tears. Community

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we might not know about yourself?

  1. I have been attacked by multiple animals, including, but not limited to, a stingray, a magpie and a poisonous snake. The poisonous snake missed, the other two did not.
  2. I think that black liquorice, cilantro, olives, kimchi, and lots of other divisive foods are delicious. In fact, if it’s divisive, I probably like it (except Marmite/Vegemite)
  3. I didn’t wear jeans for about 4 years straight in my late teens/early twenties. Not once. Now I wear them almost every day. I don’t have an explanation.
  4. My great-grandfather was born in the 1842. To put that in perspective, Abraham Lincoln was 33 in 1842.
  5. I’m not very good at coming up with random facts about myself, but I am very good at movie trivia.

If Spontaneous had a sound track what would it be?

There’s actually a lot of songs already referenced in the book. Leonard Cohen’s “That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own,” being the three big ones. But there’s also a playlist called DRIVER F*&#ER DRIVE that Mara and Tess always listen to in their car, which is full of upbeat songs, mainly by women, and featuring some well-incorporated swears. I was imagining they were listening to a variety of styles and genres. Nicki Minaj, Tegan and Sara, Jenny Lewis, Haim, Kacey Musgraves, and a bunch of stuff that an old dude like me wouldn’t know about.

What are you working on next?  Any new exciting projects you can tell us about?

My next novel is called Meme and it’s a dark thriller/comedy about, you guessed it, internet memes. It’s in the editorial stages. I’ve got a few other projects that are just getting started, but it’s too early to talk about those. Thanks for hosting me and hopefully you can have me back when I can talk about those!

Of course!  Thanks so much for answering all of my questions.  Spontaneous sounds like all kinds of fun!

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


About Aaron Starmer

Aaron Starmer was born in northern California and raised in the suburbs of Syracuse, New York. Before pursuing writing full-time, he worked in New York City for over ten years as an editor for a travel bookseller and as an operations director for an African safari company. His middle grade and young adult novels have been translated into multiple foreign languages and have appeared on best of the year lists from Time, The Wall Street Journal, New York Public Library, YALSA, Bank Street College of Education, Chicago Public Library and School Library Journal. His latest book, Spontaneous, is in development as a film. He currently lives in northern Vermont with wife and daughter.

You can find out more about Adam on his website – www.aaronstarmer.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @aaronstarmer


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Aaron for some brilliant answers and to Claire at Canongate for organising and asking me to be part of the tour!

Have you read Spontaneous?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  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!

Tales Quiz – Which Character From Who Let The Gods Out by Maz Evans Are You?


Who Let The Gods Out is currently sitting very high on my February TBR and from what I have heard already I’m in for a huge treat!  Maz Evans is super funny and I’m sure that her debut is going to make me smile from ear to ear.

Who Let The Gods Out? was released on the 2nd February 2017 published by the awesome Chicken House and is set to be a runaway success!

And it’s our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Debut Of The Month!

You can find out why people are loving Who Let The Gods Out here

So I teamed up with the wonderful Maz Evans and today we are asking….

Which Character From Who Let The Gods Out Are You?

And remember if you read, review and link up Who Let The Gods Out? for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entry into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Also do check out an awesome giveaway on twitter!


Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

You can buy a copy of Who Let The Gods Out here or from you local bookshop


Which character from Who Let The Gods Out 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 Maz Evans

Maz’s writing career began in journalism as a TV critic and feature writer. She has written for many national titles and is a regular pundit on The Jeremy Vine Show. After working as a creative writing lecturer, she founded Story Stew, an anarchic creative writing programme that has visited primary schools and literary festivals around the UK, including Hay and Imagine. Maz lives in London with her husband and four children.

You can find out more about Maz on her website – www.maz.world

Or why not follow her on twitter – @MaryAliceEvans


Giveaway

With thanks to Chicken House I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win 1 of 5 copies of Who Let The Gods Out here!


A huge thank you to Maz for playing along and helping to create this quiz!  And to Nina Douglas and Jazz at Chicken House for organising and the fab giveaway!

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

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Debut Of The Month – Who Let The Gods Out? by Maz Evans


I am so excited to have announced on February 1st that the super awesome Maz Evans is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Debut Of The Month for February 17 with her debut Who Let The Gods Out?!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

Who Let The Gods Out? was released on the 2nd Febraury 2017 published by the awesome Chicken House and is set to be a runaway success!

Who Let The Gods Out is currently sitting very high on my February TBR and from what I have heard already I’m in for a huge treat!  Maz Evans is super funny and I’m sure that her debut is going to make me smile from ear to ear.

I’m super excited to be shining the spotlight on Maz and Who Let The Gods Out today along with some love for Who Let The Gods Out from some lovely people.

And remember if you read, review and link up Who Let The Gods Out? for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entry into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a special Who Let The Gods Out post from Maz this February…..and there may even be a giveaway!


About Maz Evans

Maz’s writing career began in journalism as a TV critic and feature writer. She has written for many national titles and is a regular pundit on The Jeremy Vine Show. After working as a creative writing lecturer, she founded Story Stew, an anarchic creative writing programme that has visited primary schools and literary festivals around the UK, including Hay and Imagine. Maz lives in London with her husband and four children.

You can find out more about Maz on her website – www.maz.world

Or why not follow her on twitter – @MaryAliceEvans


About Who Let The Gods Out?

Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?

You can buy a copy of Who Let The Gods Out here or from you local bookshop


Praise for Who Let The Gods Out?

I managed to catch some quotes from some lovely people about Who Let The Gods Out….


A huge thank you to the lovely Who Let The Gods out fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  Who Let The Gods Out comes highly recommend as our Debut Of The Month!

Look out for a special Who Let The Gods Out post from Maz this February…..and there may even be a giveaway!

And remember if you read, review and link up Who Let The Gods Out? for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entry into the February Prize Pack Draw!

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

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Interview With The Pet Defenders by Gareth P Jones


It’s no secret that my son and I are HUGE fans of Gareth’s books.  We always read them with a huge smile on our faces and Gareth’s new series, Pet Defenders does just that!

I am over the moon to have been asked by the lovely people at Stripes Publishing / Little Tiger Press to be part of the blog tour for this super funny book which is released on the 9th February 2017.

Illustrated by the super talented brilliant Steve May, Pet Defenders of the Earth follows Mitzy and Biskit and it is their job to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it! Beth at Stripes Publishing describes it as The Secret Life of Pets meets The X Files!

Biskit works alone. So when the unruly Pet Defenders dog agent is teamed up with Mitzy – a rookie and, even worse, a cat – he’s not happy. Can Biskit put his ego aside and work with Mitzy to save the world from an alien attack of terrifying proportions? When the humunga-dunga beetle rolls into town, the dynamic duo are going to need all their skills to stop the creature from laying waste to the world as they know it…

So for todays guest post I have come across a transcript of an interview conducted in February 2017 in an unknown location…..


The Pet Defenders Code: 1. The safety of Planet Earth depends on you. 2. Humans MUST NOT know the truth. GOOD LUCK – you’ll need it…

From Gareth P. Jones, winner of the Blue Peter Award and author of successful young series fiction, including NINA MEERKATS, comes a brand-new comic caper. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS meets THE X FILES – Pet Defenders are secret agents with a difference.

It’s up to Mitzy and Biskit to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it!

Secret agent Biskit is not happy when he discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat – everyone knows that cats and dogs don’t mix. But saving the earth from alien invasions must come first and the planet is under attack! A cluster of cow pats has flown into town and they’re whipping up a stink… It’s time for Biskit and Mitzy to put aside their differences and kick some alien butt!

For fans of funny and action-packed animal adventures including Andrew Cope’s Spy Dog series, Astrosaurs and Jeremy Strong.


Interview with the Pet Defenders

Transcript of Interview conducted February 2017

Location unknown

To celebrate the publication of Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung, (Stripes) award-winning author Gareth P Jones secured an exclusive interview with the book’s protagonists (a dog called Biskit, and a cat called Mitzy). For security reasons, Gareth was blindfolded then brought to a secret location. As the blindfold was removed he observed he was in some kind of windowless room. A single bulb hung from the ceiling. In front of him stood a scruffy brown mongrel and a tabby cat with white paws and a white smudge on her nose. Looking up he noticed a seagull perched above his head.

GPJ:                 Oh, hello. Biskit and Mitzy, isn’t it?

Biskit:              How do you know that? How does he know that?

Mitzy:              I’ve no idea but it’s not good. We should get the bird to drop the Forget-Me-Plop and wipe his memory now.

GPJ:                 What? No…. Hey, I can understand what you’re saying. How is that possible?

Mitzy:              The room is coated with Universal Translation Paint. It is translating Biskit’s barks and my meows into a language you understand. It’s one of Example’s inventions.

GPJ:                 You mean Example One, the super intelligent lab mouse who heads up the Nothington Extra-terrestrial Research Division team, NERD for short?

Biskit:             How do you know all this? No one is supposed to know any of this.

GPJ:                 Yes but I’m your author.

Biskit:              What are you talking about?

GPJ:                 I created the series. I came up with the idea of a secret organization of pets keeping the planet safe from alien attack while us humans are totally oblivious. It’s fun, right?

Mitzy:              Fun? You think our job sounds fun?

GPJ:                 Well, yes, look… this isn’t going as I planned. I wanted to do a light-hearted interview for Chelle’s book blog, Tales of Yesterday.

Biskit:              Who’s Chelle? What is she doing with lots of tails?

Mitzy:              We should probably wipe her memory too? I’ll send a seagull.

GPJ:                 No, please don’t wipe her memory. She’s a blogger.

Mitzy:              What’s a blogger?

Biskit:              Probably some kind of alien from the planet Blog, come to Earth to enslave humans.

GPJ:                 What? No. That’s not it. It means she writes stuff on her website… Look, it doesn’t matter. Can’t we just do this normally? I’ll ask you questions and you answer them.

Biskit:              Sorry mate. We ask the questions.

Mitzy:              Hm, maybe we should let him, Biskit. That way we can find out how much he knows.

 Biskit:              That makes sense. Go ahead, ask your questions Mr Author man.

GPJ:                 Oh. Thanks. Any chance you can untie me?

Biskit growls

GPJ:                 No? Fair enough. So Pet Defenders, what’s the scariest alien you’ve ever fought?

Mitzy:              Sorry. That’s classified.

GPJ:                 OK. Then how many aliens have you encountered?

Mitzy:              Yeah, that’s classified too.

GPJ:                 Er…. What’s your favourite colour?

Mitzy:              We can’t tell you that.

GPJ:                 This is ridiculous. You haven’t told me a single thing and I created you. You should show me more respect.

Biskit:              Respect? Why should we respect you?

GPJ:                 Because, um, er… Oh, I’ve got it. Because I haven’t written the fourth book yet. I could make your lives pretty uncomfortable.

Mitzy:              You could if you were able to remember any of this.

Biskit:              Yeah, see you round Mr Author.

GPJ:                 No. Wait! Please….

SPLAT!

Transcript ends.

Pet Defenders: Attack of the Alien Dung is published 9th of February. The second book in the series, Beards from Outer Space comes out in May, with the third (Escape from Planet Bogey) being published in September.

Gareth P Jones has no memory of the above conversation.

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

About Gareth P Jones

Gareth P. Jones is the author of many books for children, including the NINJA MEERKATS series, and THE CONSIDINE CURSE, for which he won the Blue Peter Book of the Year 2012 award. He also works as a producer of TV documentaries. He lives in Forest Hill, south east London, with his wife and children.

To find out more about Gareth visit his website – www.garethwrites.co.uk

Or why not follow Gareth on twitter – @jonesgarethp

About Steve May

Steve May is an illustrator and animator based in north London. He was born in sunny Hastings and has an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art. As an illustrator he has produced work for a variety of clients including Puffin and Faber.

To find out more about Steve May visit –  www.stevemay.biz


A huge thank you to Gareth for such a fab guest post and to Beth at Stripes Publishing for asking me to take part and for organising.

You can find some previous posts with Gareth P Jones on Tales using the following links –

Q&A with Gareth P Jones

Which Character From The Thornthwaite Betrayal Are You?

Adventures Of The Steampunk Pirates:  The Leaky Battery Sets Sail

Pet Defenders:  Attack Of The Alien Dung! Cover Reveal

Have you read Pet Defenders:  Attack Of The Alien Dung!?  Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Gareth’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

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