Category Archives: UKYA

UK Young Adult

Guest Post – Why Did I Choose To Write An Elizabethan Fantasy by L J MacWhirter

 


Today I am super happy to have a fab post from L J MacWhirter to celebrate the release of her Elizabethan fantasy Black Snow Falling.

Black Snow Falling was released on the 1st August 2018 published by Scotland Street Press and is a story of hope overcoming evil.

I was super intrigued by the premise of this book and wanted to know why Liz chose an Elizabethan fantasy to write….


About The Book

In 1592, a girl with spirit is a threat. Ruth has secrets. An old book of heresy belonging to her long-absent father. A dream that haunts her. And love that she and Silas hide from the world.

Black Snow Falling is an Elizabethan fantasy for young adults and up by L.J. MacWhirter. It’s about a spirited and privileged girl, Ruth, who has so much to lose as monstrous sexism traps her. When she is robbed of all she holds true, her friends slide into terrible danger. Hope is as faint as a moonbow. Dare Ruth trust the shadowy one who could destroy them all?

This is a story about hope overcoming evil, written with satisfying moral complexity. It draws on the author’s fascination with the inner workings of minds and mechanical machines. It’s about staying fixed or spinning out.

As a child, her engineer father introduced her to science and the vast machines of the industrial revolution. On a trip to Florence many years later, she saw a mechanical Armillary Sphere, made for the Medicis in the 1500s, which embodied the long-held belief that the earth was at the centre of the heavens. Early science, in opposition to this dominant view, was cast as heresy. Together with the misogynist sexism of the time, it became the setting for this thriller. 


Why Did I Choose To Write An Elizabethan Fantasy?

Thanks to the lovely Chelle of Tales of Yesterday for hosting my guest blog!

So the question Chelle posed was, why did I choose to write an Elizabethan fantasy? The simple but most puzzling answer is that IT chose me. Let me explain in three chunks.

  1. It started with the fantasy idea. And that idea came to find me right here.

Glen Etive. It’s right beside the better-known Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland. I was I was there volunteering for Venture Scotland, a charity that helps young people who’ve had the toughest starts in life.

 As we jumped streams and hiked through the heather, one young man was sharing his plans for the future – he’d love to be a gardener. It struck me that he’d suffered things that most of us may never have to cope with, and yet he still had hope for the future. It was visceral and tangible. As I listened, I found myself wanting nothing more to happen that could snatch his hope away… a chilling What If? struck me.

 What if dreams were actual physical entities that could be snatched away?

 What if there were evil forces at work, stealing these hopes and dreams? They would be dream thieves. In life’s darkest moments, isn’t that how it feels?

 2. The Elizabethan part came after the fantasy idea. I grew up in Cheshire, where you can’t escape all the Tudor halls. So I was already well aware of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. I’ve always admired this woman for holding on to her throne despite endless marriage proposals and assassination attempts!

I decided to locate my story at the same time as this important queen. In fact, Ruth, my main character, has actually met her (maybe that was an unconscious fantasy of my own!). So many interesting things were taking place in the 16th century that it makes a fantastic context for dreams being stolen. What’s more, less needed to happen for my characters to lose hope.

So, bluntly, it would be easier for readers to relate to Ruth, because what happens to her happens to all of us. Haven’t we all been heartbroken or betrayed? When we let someone else down, it feels awful – what do we do?

  1. I was round at my mum’s, giving her my first signed copy of the book on Publication Day (yay!), and I took this quick pic. Black Snow Falling is resting on this Tudor box that my family bought sometime, somewhere. I’ve always really loved it. It used to hold games in it when we were little, so I was always opening and closing it and thinking about how ancient it was.

Perhaps the story about my Elizabethan Ruth and those evil forces just popped out of here?

Stories are magical, aren’t they?

Black Snow Falling is available now everywhere online and in good bookshops. Please vote for it in the EIBF First Book Award.


About L J MacWhirter

L.J. MacWhirter was born just outside London, grew up in the North of England and today lives in Edinburgh with her husband and family. The stories started as soon as she could write. Black Snow Falling is her debut novel.

L.J. MacWhirter will be speaking about ‘Feisty Fantasy’ with Alice Broadway at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Saturday 11 August at 18.30.

Why not follow L J MacWhirther on twitter – @LizMacwhirter


A huge thank you to Mariarita at Scotland Street Press for asking me to host and to Liz for such a fantastic piece for the blog.

Have you read Black Snow Falling?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Guest Post – My Top Five Excuses Not To Write by Penny Joelson

 


Today I am over the moon to have the wonder Penny Joelson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her new YA Girl In The Window.

Girl In The Window is due to be released on the 9th August 2018 published by Electric Monkey and is set to be an eye opening compulsive page turner that will have you hooked.

I often wonder how writers motivate themselves as it’s often easy to procrastinate (*cough at myself who instead of writing today scrolled through twitter*) so today Penny shares her top 5 excuses not to write…..


About The Book!

See the world from another unique perspective in the thrilling new novel from the author of I Have No Secrets (a World Book Day title for 2018).

Nothing ever happens on Kasia’s street. And Kasia would know, because her illness makes her spend days stuck at home, watching the world from her bedroom window. So when she sees what looks like a kidnapping, she’s not sure whether she can believe her own eyes . . .

There was a girl in the window opposite – did she see something too? But when Kasia goes to find her she is told the most shocking thing of all.

There is no girl.


My Top Five Excuses Not To Writ

  1.  I only started using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when I was writing ‘I Have No Secrets’. Now I, like many others, am guilty of spending far too long on these things. It is a wonderful feeling when you look at Twitter and see that someone has commented excitedly about how much they love your book. It is hard not to keep looking for ‘mentions’ or ‘retweets’.

2.  I get lots of lovely emails – especially from schools about visits as well as important emails from my editors, publicity team and my agent. I get many less important emails too – but it is hard not to keep checking in case something interesting comes.

3.  Goodreads, Amazon, Blogs. I was warned against looking at these things too much but again I am drawn to them and sometimes find the pull too tempting.

4.  I am very disorganised. Often the one piece of paper where I wrote some notes or the particular notebook I was using have disappeared under a pile and I just can’t get on with writing until I have found it.

5.  I love my family very much, but they require attention – things like meals (I can’t think why!) often at moments when I am most inspired to write. They also require taking and fetching from swimming lessons, Brownies etc. They even want clean clothes!

You can buy a copy of Girl In The Window here or from your local bookshop!


About Penny Joelson

Penny Joelson’s debut novel, I Have No Secrets, was a World Book Day 2018 title and won the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. Penny has loved reading and writing stories since she was a child and began working with disabled people when she was a teenager, which gave her inspiration for her first novel I Have No Secrets.  Penny teaches creative writing and lives in Hertfordshire with her family.

Find Penny on Twitter: @pennyjoelson


A huge thank you to Siobhan at Electric Monkey for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and to Penny for such a fab guest post!

Have you read Girl In The Window?  What did you think?  What did you love about it?  What are your excuses not to write or blog?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – Thank you YALC, Thank you Everyone

I’ve spent most of this weekend chilling out following YALC and it’s been blissful.  I’m not sure about anyone else, but it always takes me a good while to recover after a pretty full on YALC.  I’m always so exhausted afterwards so I am hoping this coming week I will have a little spring back in my step and less bags under my eyes.

I love YALC so much.  I love the books, the atmosphere, chatting to like minded people from the community and meeting up with authors that are new and familiar to me, bloggers and publishers and of course hanging out with amazing friends and people.  It always just makes me smile so much.

Before YALC this year I was feeling in a bit of limbo with my blog, my reading and even my writing.  I’ve had a lot going on recently and I’ve found it hard to find the time to fit things in. I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve lacked the motivation to do anything remotely creative.  (Although I did manage to binge watch a lot of Netflix!). I even wondered if it was worth carrying on blogging!

Cue YALC!

I didn’t realise how much I needed something to make me open up my eyes again and as silly as it sounds give me that little boost that I realised I needed in one sense, but maybe not in others.  I was SO excited for YALC, but I didn’t realise how much I actually needed YALC to snap me out of my spell of whatever was going on in my brain.

And boy did YALC do that!

I had such a wonderful time!

Some highlights for me personally were –

  • Staying in the same hotel as a couple of my friends which meant that we could meet up for breakfast every morning and then walk to YALC together and generally just chat along the way.
  • Chatting to so many other bloggers, some new to me and some I’ve met before, but seeing everyone’s happiness and enthusiasm was completely infectious.

  • Spending a lot of my time in panels or getting books signed this year rather than the workshops and whilst I had a rough plan on my highlighted YALC schedule of what I wanted to do everyday I found that I ended up just going with the flow and this was just what I needed.  It was amazing to hear and see so many wonderful authors and I left everyday feeling inspired by every single one of them.

  • Meeting lots of fab authors, but the highlight for me was sitting front row for the Tom and Giovanna Fletcher talk.  I even got to ask them a question and then got my book signed!  I have been a huge fan of them both for quite some time, but I’ve never met them so this was a dream come true!

  • All of the book stands!  OMG how fab were they!  I could have walked away with far more books than I did.  YALC is seriously dangerous for the wallet!  As well as all of the books though it was fab to talk to some of the publishers, people that I’ve met before and people that I’ve only chatted to over email.  It’s always nice to put a face to a name.

  • Meeting up with my personal publishing hero Anne Finnis and spending time with her, Kim Curran and my friend Amy.  For those of you who don’t know I am a huge fan of Point Horror and Anne was responsible for publishing them back in the 90’s.  We met up at YALC  a few years ago now and every time I see her I turn into a fan girl (sounds silly I know, but as I said to Anne…Point Horror was my childhood and if she hadn’t published them I may not be the person I am today!).  It was just lovely to take some time out to chat about books and writing amongst other things and the whole conversation was hugely inspiring.

  • An evening out with my friends Amy, Olivia and Laura and our families.  What a laugh we had over burgers and milkshakes.  We have to make this a YALC tradition!

And with thanks to wonderful family and friends I even pushed myself out of my comfort zone….

  • I normally just stay up on the YALC floor and don’t venture down to LFCC, but this year my son was determined to get me down there and with my pop vinyl obsession how could I not go down?  For those of you who don’t know, I am partially sighted and therefore I find it very stressful and hard in crowded spaces to navigate around without constantly bumping into people.  But I did it!  And I loved it!
  • With thanks to my friend Amy for pushing me a little I pitched my story idea to an agent with a view to gaining some feedback on the idea.  It was a nerve-wracking but a great experience and it was great to hear feedback which has given my some fresh ideas to put into my writing
  • I had my picture taken with a celebrity, Arthur Darvill.  That meant me pushing myself out of my comfort zone again.  I was super nervous and terrified of the queuing process down in LFCC, but I did it and as you can tell from my super happy smiling face it was amazing!

These things I would never have done before, but I always say to my son when he is going some where new to always try one thing out of his comfort zone each time, so I thought I would take my own advice!

I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you to everyone who I spoke to, hugged, laughed with and hung out with.  I have left YALC feeling motivated and inspired by every single one of you.

If ever I feel like giving up I will simply read back this blog post, think of all of the amazing and wonderful things above and the memories we created and maybe think to myself that I shouldn’t give up.  Think about how inspired every single one of you has made me feel, always so welcoming and warm and energetic.  That alone is enough.  That alone makes me beam with happiness whilst I am writing this.

Thank you

x

P.S – Jason Mamoa…that is all!

Spotlight – Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

 


Today is my stop on this fab blog tour to celebrate the release of Show Stealer by Hayley Barker!

Show Stealer is the sequel to last years Show Stopper and was released on the 2nd August published by the lovelies at Scholastic.

To celebrate I thought I would shine the spotlight on this brilliant books and I also have an awesome giveaway with huge thanks to Scholastic!


About The Books!

A dazzling, high-octane read filled with death-defying acrobatics, circus crowds with an appetite for disaster, and two forbidden teenage lovers trying to escape the shackles of their very different lives. Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land must watch their children be taken by a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

The deadliest show on earth is ready for an encore…

Hoshiko and Ben have been on the run since they burned Silvio Sabatini’s circus down to the ground at the explosive finale of SHOW STOPPER. But Ben’s mother will stop at nothing to track him down and get her revenge: backing him into a corner where he is forced to sacrifice himself to save Hoshiko. The deadliest show on earth has been resurrected and if Ben thought he’d seen into its dark corners as an outsider, the true extent of the horrors that lurk beneath the Big Top are about to be revealed as he becomes the circus’ new star attraction…

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


About Hayley Barker


Hayley Barker taught secondary school English for nearly eighteen years before becoming an author. She is a huge YA fiction fan and says being published is the most exciting thing to ever happen to her.

She lives in Essex with her husband two sons and a yappy dog.

For more information, please visit Hayley’s website: www.hayleybarker.co.uk


Giveaway!

The lovely people at Scholastic have given me a copy of Show Stealer to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter this vis twitter here

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Emily at Scholastic for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book to read and one to giveaway!

Have you read Show Stopper or Show Stealer?  What did you think?  What are your favourite parts?  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 – Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

 


Today is my stop on the wonderful blog tour celebrating the release of Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt!

Theatrical was released on the 28th June 2018 published by Usborne and is set to warm your heart and remind you of the magic of the theatre.

With this in mind as part of my stop I wanted to share a few of the shows that made me fall in love with the theatre…..


Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume-designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool…and her secret.


This was one of the first ever Theatre performances I went to as an angsty teenager who was heavily into grunge and rock and black eyeliner (still am) ….. and it broke my heart into tiny pieces!  It has stayed with me ever since and even listening to the music causes me to breakdown into tears!  I was lucky enough to see it again a few years ago in London and I didn’t even make it past the 2nd song before having something in my eye.  It’s a remarkable piece of theatre.

Me and the hubby booked to see this whilst we were on our honeymoon in London (we basically booked a show a night for 10 days) and it blew us away.  I will be honest we didn’t know too much about it before we booked but had heard good things and wow were they right!  I will never forget having my breathe taken away from me when hearing Defining Gravity live …amazing!  We have been trying to go back and see it ever since but we haven’t got there yet!  But soon we hope!

Another theatre trip where we didn’t really know what to expect, but the production of this was fantastic!  The music was catchy and there were some super funny and touching moments!  We loved it and wished we had been to see it again!


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


About Maggie Harcourt

Maggie Harcourt was born and raised in Wales, where she grew up telling stories. She now lives just outside Bath, and was inspired her to write Theatrical whilst attending the Theatre Production Course at the Theatre Royal Bath.

You can follow Maggie on:

Maggiehaha.tumblr.com

Twitter: @maggieharcourt

Instagram: @maggieharcourt


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Stevie at Usborne for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book!

Have you read Theatrical?  What did you think?  What are your favourite #Theatrical moments?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Endings & Beginnings by Victoria Williamson


Today I am over the moon to have the lovely Victoria Williamson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle.

The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle was released on the 19th April published by the lovelies at Kelpies and is set to be a beautiful moving story that will keep you gripped until the last page.

So today Victoria chats about endings and beginnings in this fab guest post…


Reema runs to remember the life she left behind in Syria. Caylin runs to find what she’s lost. Under the grey Glasgow skies, twelve-year-old refugee Reema is struggling to find her place in a new country, with a new language and without her brother. But she isn’t the only one feeling lost. Her Glasgwegian neighbour Caylin is lonely and lashing out. When they discover an injured fox and her cubs hiding on their estate, the girls form a wary friendship. And they are more alike than they could have imagined: they both love to run. As Reema and Caylin learn to believe again, in themselves and in others, they find friendship, freedom and the discovery that home isn’t a place, it’s the people you love.

Heartfelt and full of hope, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle is an uplifting story about the power of friendship and belonging. Inspired by her work with young asylum seekers, debut novelist Victoria Williamson’s stunning story of displacement and discovery will speak to anyone who has ever asked ‘where do I belong?’


Endings and Beginnings

‘In the beginning…’

‘Once upon a time…’

‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’

Growing up, writing the start of a story seemed easy. I’d just pick one of the standard phrases copied from a fairy story or a film, and I’d be off on my adventure straight away without having to worry about character backstory or beginning with a bang.

Writing as an adult is a little trickier.

There are so many prescribed ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for writing fiction it’s amazing any of us get the first paragraph of a book written at all! Most of the advice focuses on what we’re not supposed to do:

• Don’t begin with a lengthy scene setting
• Don’t start with character backstory
• Don’t start with a description of past events
• Don’t start with an ordinary, everyday situation

And one of the biggest ‘don’ts’ I’ve heard a million times:

• Don’t start with a character other than your protagonist

So how do you begin a story when your book is dual narrative and your two main characters are equally important?

In The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, both Caylin and Reema tell the story from their own unique perspectives.

Caylin has lost her grandparents, and with her mother’s depression turning to alcoholism, she resorts to bullying other children for money and stealing to keep food on the table. She longs for the past when her grandparents were alive and she was part of a loving family. Her grandmother was a talented athlete, and Caylin keeps her memory alive through her passion for running.

Reema runs to remember too. She’s lost everything in the Syrian war, including her older brother Jamal, and she’s struggling to fit in and feel safe so far from home. Her memories of running through the streets of Aleppo after school with Jamal are bound up in the headscarf he bought her, and she clings on tightly to this as a symbol of everything she has lost and hopes to recover.

The way I chose to unite these two very different girls and begin their story, was by creating a metaphor for them, in the form of an injured urban fox they care for and come to call Hurriyah – ‘Freedom’ in Arabic.

Despite their different cultural backgrounds, both girls have suffered loss and are searching for a sense of belonging. Hurriyah’s own sense of loss over her dead mate, destroyed den and injured leg which prevents her from running, hunting and caring for her vulnerable cubs mirrors the girls’ struggles to overcome their own sad experiences.

So Hurriyah begins their story for them, her poems woven through the narrative to remind the reader that the girls want to feel both the safety of a permanent, settled home life, and the freedom to be themselves.

The ending of The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle however, proved harder to write. Not because I wasn’t sure how to wrap up the story, but because it’s always hard for an author to let go of characters who have been a big part of their life for so long. It’s almost like saying goodbye to old friends you’re never going to get a chance to talk to again.

One of the things all of my favourite books had in common when I was a child was the sense of loss I felt when I reached the last page and the story ended. Despite the serious issues involved, Caylin and Reema’s story is an adventure, and I’d like my readers to relate to these characters, and to feel invested in their quest to save the foxes and win their school a medal in the sports competition. I suppose the test of whether my book has had the intended impact on the reader is if they feel a little bit of the same sense of loss as me when they reach the last page and find they’ve come to end of Caylin and Reema’s journey too.

But I also wanted to end on an uplifting note. Hurriyah the fox’s refrain from the start of the story: ‘This is not home. It hurts,’ morphs into something far more hopeful at the end of the book when both Caylin and Reema realize that home isn’t a place, it’s the people you love.

That’s why I chose to end the story with an ellipsis instead of a full stop. The book may be stand-alone without a planned sequel, but the journey isn’t over for Caylin, Reema and Hurriyah. They’ve found friendship, belonging, and the sense of freedom they’ve been searching for, and so despite the fact that the book has ended, their adventures are only just beginning…

You can buy a copy of The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle here or from your local bookshop


About Victoria Williamson

Victoria Williamson grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked as an educator in a number of different countries, including as an English teacher in China, a secondary science teacher in Cameroon, and a teacher trainer in Malawi.

As well as degrees in Physics and Mandarin Chinese, she has completed a Masters degree in Special Needs in Education. In the UK she works as a primary school special needs teacher, working with children with a range of additional support needs including Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, physical disabilities and behavioural problems.

She is currently working as a full time writer of Middle Grade and YA contemporary fiction, science fiction and fantasy, with a focus on creating diverse characters reflecting the many cultural backgrounds and special needs of the children she has worked with, and building inclusive worlds where all children can see a reflection of themselves in heroic roles.

Victoria’s experiences teaching young children in a school with many families seeking asylum inspired her debut novel, The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, an uplifting tale of redemption and unlikely friendship between Glaswegian bully Caylin and Syrian refugee Reema.

Twenty percent of her author royalties for The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle are donated to the Scottish Refugee Council.

You can find out more about Victoria’s books, school visits and upcoming events on her website: www.strangelymagical.com


Blog Tour

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


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

Have you read The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle?  What did you think?  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 – In Your Light by Annalie Grainger


Today I am over then moon to be part of the blog tour for Annalie Grainger’s new YA book, In Your Light.

In Your Light was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by the fab Simon & Schuster Children’s UK and is set to be a tender and heart breaking read.

Today I am shining the spotlight on this fab book and telling you a little bit more about it and the brilliant Annalie…


From the author of Captive comes a tense, gripping story of secrets, sisterhood and running away

Are you still a sister, if one of you is missing?

Sixteen-year-old Lil’s heart was broken when her sister Mella disappeared. There’s been no trace or sighting of her since she vanished, so when Lil sees a girl lying in the road near her house she thinks for a heart-stopping moment that it’s Mella. The girl is injured and disorientated and Lil has no choice but to take her home. But something’s not right… The girl claims she’s from a peaceful community called The Sisterhood of the Light, but why then does she have strange marks down her arms, and what – or who – is she running from…
 
Could she hold the key to Mella’s disappearance?
 
And what happens if the Sisterhood is unwilling to let its daughters go… 

You can buy a copy of In Your Light here or from your local bookshop!


About Annalie Grainger

Annalie Grainger lives in London, where she works as a children’s books editor. She loves writing and editing because it means she gets to talk about books all day. Her debut, Captive, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2014.

You can find out more about Annalie and her writing on Twitter (@_AJGrainger) or by visiting her website, www.ajgrainger.com


Blog Tour

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

#InYourLight


A huge thank you to Eve at Simon & Schuster for asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!

Have you read In Your Light?  What did you think?  Did it break your heart?  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Aunty Vimala’s Rules by Savita Kalhan


Today I am over the moon to have the lovely Savita Kalhan on Tales to celebrate the release of The Girl In The Broken Mirror!

The Girl In The Broken Mirror was released on the 1st May 2018 published by Troika Books and this fab YA is set to break your heart.

Today Savita is sharing a fab extract / guest post from the book with Aunty Vimala’s Rules….


Jay’s creative writing exercise is to write a fairy tale, to end with they lived happily ever after . But the way her life is panning out she s not sure it will ever reach that stage. She and her mother are moving in with distant relatives, and they have super strict rules for girls. Jay is expected to have only Indian friends, if she has any at all. How can she see her school friends, Chloe and Matt? But this is only the beginning of a nightmare for Jay. When her life implodes, how can she hide the shame and how will she find a way to keep going?


Aunty Vimala’s Rules

Thank you so much for having me on your blog today and being part of the amazing fourteen stop blog tour! It’s so exciting to be here – and to have a new book out! I’m thrilled that The Girl in the Broken Mirror is in readers’ hands. It was published by Troika Books on May 1st and I still haven’t stopped smiling.

The Girl in the Broken Mirror is about Jay, who’s fifteen, and a terrible trauma that happens to her. It’s about her journey after the trauma and how she finds help. It’s also about a huge culture clash – Jay has had a liberal upbringing, but suddenly she has to move in with distant relatives who have super-strict ideas of what a girl can do and cannot do. Imagine having to live there for a few years, with little contact with your own family, and where school is the only freedom you are allowed.

That’s what Jay, the main character of The Girl in the Broken Mirror, is faced with!

Jay moves in with her Aunty Vimala at No 42 Primrose Avenue. She has been given the room in the basement, and her mum has been given the room in the attic. She’s also been given a huge set of rules…

Aunty Vimala’s Rules

Girls must be able to cook.

Girls must do all the cleaning and washing.

Girls must dress demurely.

Girls must not talk to boys.

Girls should not go out – no sleepovers, no hanging out with friends, no wasting time.

The rules are out of place in the UK in the 21st Century. They should be out of place everywhere.

Aunty Vimala’s Other Rules

Never wash your hair on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays.

Never leave your shoes upside down.

Never taste the food you are cooking with the stirring spoon.

Never shake the pickle jar when you have your period.

Never whistle after six o’clock.

These are just a few of Aunty Vimala’s other rules. They are part religious, part tradition, and part superstition. And all of them are alien to Jay and her upbringing. She struggles to fit in with this new lifestyle, but at the same time she knows that she has to – her and her mum have nowhere else to live.

Thank you so much for inviting me here today.

I hope you all love the book

You can buy a copy of The Girl In The Broken Mirror here or from your local bookshop!


About Savita Kalhan

I was born in my grandparent’s home in a small village in the north of India. The family home has been transformed into an amazing charity hospital, which is pretty cool. I moved with my parents from that small village in India to a small town in Buckinghamshire when I was 11 months old. No, I’ve never got used to the cold or the damp or the rain!

I went to uni in Aberystwyth, where the winters were colder and the seas stormy, and got happily stuck there for a few years before heading to London and life as an impoverished batik artist, before taking the plunge and getting married in Manila. Then I headed off to the desert heat of the Middle East where I lived and taught English for several years, read like a demon, and started writing.

I’ve never stopped writing. I hope I never do.

Now, I’m in North London, with a view of the woods, a stone’s throw from my allotment where I fight a daily battle against the onslaught of an army of slugs and wrestle with plotlines, and the tennis club where I slug a few balls, and my writing shed at the bottom of the garden where I write.

Savita loves to hear from my readers and she is happy to answer any questions about herself or the book!

You can find out more about Savita on her website –  www.savitakalhan.com

Or why not follow Savita on twitter –  @savitakalhan.


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to Savita for getting in touch and asking me to host this fab post.

Have you read ?  What did you think?  Was it what you expected?  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 – I Was Born For This YA Playlist by Alice Oseman


Today I am super excited to have the phenomenal Alice Oseman on Tales to celebrate the release of her new fantastic YA, I Was Born For This.

I Was Born For This was released on the 3rd May 2018 published by Harper Collins Children’s and the reviews that I’ve already seen prove that this is a book not to be missed!

Also check out these beautiful redesigns of Alice’s two previous YA books…..as well as being fantastic they are simply gorgeous!

 So today Alice is sharing another song from her #YAPlaylist for I Was Born This Way and I am sharing a song from my playlist too….


The third novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most talked about YA writers in recent years.

For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.

But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

A funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel. I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something – especially yourself.


YA Playlist

Alice

Heavydirtysoul – Twenty One Pilots

I included a Twenty One Pilots song in my I Was Born for This playlist because they’re one of the closest bands to how I imagine The Ark sound! Also, ‘Heavydirtysoul’ has lyrics that reflect some of Angel’s feelings towards The Ark. “Can you save my heavy dirty soul” is completely how Angel feels towards The Ark – she looks towards them to solve all of her problems by distracting her from thinking about anything in her own life.

Chelle

Buddy Holly by Weezer

Believe it or not it took me a long time to pick just one song to feature on this post.  Like many of us music to me is so symbolic of different moments in time throughout life and represents so many different feelings…. feelings of love, hurt, friendship, breakups, a particular time and maybe a particular memory.  For me that is what the song Buddy Holly by Weezer represents.  In fact it encompasses and reminds me of so many of these feeling and memories that it makes me feel quite emotional listening to it now a days.

I was 14 or 15 when this song came out at the time I was very much into grunge idolising Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl from Nirvana with all of my teenage angst and then this funky fun rock song came along and I was so on board that fandom!   It was one of the first songs I learnt to play on the guitar with my friend Katie and we even plucked up the courage to enter a competition playing and singing along to it.  The two of us up on the stage with our amps, microphones and guitars nervous, but loving life.  Unbelievably we came second place!  This song gave me the confidence to pursue music and singing further whilst I was at school leading me to do things I never would have imagined myself doing including auditioning for the school musical where I got given the lead part.  To this day I don’t know how that even happened.  It is a confidence I have never really had or felt since if I am honest.

Further into my Weezer fandom it would follow me through first loves, breakups, sadness, hurt and times of laughing, smiling and sitting in my room learning the riffs to play along with Weezer on my guitar.  So many memories from one song and one band.  This is was nostalgia feels like.

It’s amazing what music can do and like Angel in I Was Born This Way maybe music did distract me in a way and give me the most wonderful memories some of them good and some of them bad but most of all memories that I want to cling onto forever and that I wouldn’t change for the world!

You can buy a copy of I Was Born For This here or from your local bookshop

You can check out Alice’s full YA Playlist for I Was Born This Way here


About Alice Oseman

Alice Oseman was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She completed a degree in English at Durham University in 2016 and is currently a full-time writer and illustrator. Alice can usually be found staring aimlessly at computer screens, questioning the meaninglessness of existence, or doing anything and everything to avoid getting an office job.

Alice’s first book, SOLITAIRE, was published when she was nineteen. Her second, RADIO SILENCE, was released in early 2016.

You can find out more about Alice on her website – www.aliceoseman.com

Or why not follow Alice on twitter – @AliceOseman


Blog Tour

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

#IWasBornForThis

#IWBFT

#YAplaylist


A huge thank you to Nina Douglas for asking me to take part in this fab blog tour and to Alice for sharing the insight into the song from her playlist.

Have you read I Was Born For This?  What did you think?  What would be on your YA Playlist?  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 – Why I Love Edinburgh by Sophie Cameron


Today I am excited to have the brilliant Sophie Cameron on Tales to celebrate the release of Out Of The Blue!

Out Of The Blue was released on the 22nd March 2018 published by the lovelies at Macmillan Children’s Books and is a story that will stick with you long after you have read it.

With the book being set in Edinburgh today Sophie chats about why she loves Edinburgh so much in this fab guest post!


When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. For most people it doesn’t. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.

Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, Sophie Cameron’s Out of the Blue tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.


Why I Love Edinburgh

Edinburgh and I have a bit of a yo-yo relationship. I moved there for uni at 18, went to Quebec for a few months, back to Edinburgh, moved to France for a year, back to Edinburgh, Spain for the summer, back to Edinburgh, Germany, Spain, back to Edinburgh… and now I’m in Spain again, where I’ve been for the past year and a half. I have no idea where I’ll be in five years time, but Edinburgh is my favourite city in the world and still feels very much like home.

Here are five of the best things about it, in my opinion:

 1. The architecture. Even after spending so much time there, Edinburgh still amazes me with how beautiful it is. The Old Town especially is full of incredible buildings, and there are lots of interesting details to look out for. It’s not very built up, either, so you get some great panoramas – my favourites are the views from Calton Hill and North Bridge, especially at dusk.

2. Green spaces. Living in other cities made me really appreciate how many green spaces there are in and around Edinburgh. There’s the Meadows, Arthur’s Seat, Inverleith Park, the Botanic Gardens, Leith Links, Princes Street Gardens, Blackford Hill… They’re some of my favourite spots in the city, and quite a few of them are mentioned in Out of the Blue.

3. Walkable. I love walking, mostly because I’m too lazy to do any other exercise. Edinburgh is pretty perfect for walkers: small enough that you can get lots of places on foot, but big enough that it still has tons to see and do. If you’re visiting it’s really worth leaving the centre and taking a walk to Stockbridge, the Dean Village, Morningside or the Shore if you can.

4. The Fringe. A lot of Edinburgh locals hate the Fringe (and it is very frustrating having to wade through crowds of tourists just to get to Tesco) but I love it. It feels like the whole world arrives in Edinburgh for those three weeks, and amongst a lot of not-so-great stuff, you can find some really incredible shows. The chaotic atmosphere fit perfectly with the crazed behaviour of the angel chasers in Out of the Blue, and it made the book really fun to write.

5. Literary city. Time some fun facts: Edinburgh was the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, has the largest monument to a writer (Sir Walter Scott) and the only train station named after a novel (Scott’s Waverley). It also has the amazing Edinburgh International Book Festival, a great writing community and is home to lots of amazing authors. Just writing this has made me want to move back!

You can buy a copy of Out Of The Blue here or from your local bookshop!


About Sophie Cameron

I grew up in the Black Isle in the Highlands of Scotland. I spent around ten years in Edinburgh, did a few stints in Canada, Germany and France, and am now living in Barcelona.

My all-time favourite books include Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Naive. Super by Erlend Loe, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, How to be Both by Ali Smith, The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber, The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, and More Than This by Patrick Ness.

When I’m not reading or writing, I’m usually studying foreign languages or watching inordinate amounts of TV. Other stuff I like includes: cats, tea, Duolingo, cats, Eurovision, Céline Dion, taiyaki, postcards, Catalan pop music, sudoku, empanadas, cheese.

I’m currently working on my second book, which will be published by Macmillan Children’s Books in 2019.

You can find out more about Sophie on her website – www.sophie-cameron.com

You can also follow Sophie on twitter – @toomanysophies


A huge thank you to Sophie for a brilliant guest post and to Macmillan Children’s Books and Nina Douglas for asking me to host!

Have you read Out Of The Blue?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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