Today I am honoured to have the brilliant Anne Cassidy on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate one of my most anticipated end of 2017 releases, No Shame.
I recently featured No Shame as a book I was hugely excited about over on W H Smth blog here
No Shame was released on the 19th October 2017 published by Hot Key and is a companion novel to Cassidy’s previous novel No Virgin and explores the gruelling process one young woman must go through to bring her rapist to justice which I have heard Anne was moved to write after reading about the real-life cases of Ched Evans, Brock Turner and the Bradford grooming ring. No Shame is sure to be a thought provoking read.
Today Anne talks to us about why teenage friendships are important in YA in this fab guest post….
The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.
I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA
I focus on friendship in almost every book I write. As a teenager, friendship was everything to me. I was an only child and my need for companionship was greater than those kids who had brothers and sisters. Consequently, I was hungry for a best friend and the close friendships I had helped me get through some difficult times. When they ended, I was devastated. My novel No Virgin follows the main character Stacey Woods as her world collapses when she thinks her best friend, Patrice, is lying to her. These feelings of isolation make her feel vulnerable and easy prey to a boy who is sweet and nice to her. Sadly, this nice sweet boy eventually leads to Stacey being attacked. In the sequel No Shame, it’s Patrice, among others, who support her through the trial.
For young children, having a friend is the first step outside the safety of the family. When they go outside that warm base, they are at the mercy of other people’s whims, likes and dislikes. It’s a challenge and can be brilliant if they find the right friend; but it doesn’t always end happily.
During teenage years, it is absolutely crucial to have good friends. Relationships with the family are changing: the need for privacy and room to develop are important and teenagers lean on other kids who are going through the same thing. In No Virgin, after Stacey has been raped, she doesn’t go to the police and she doesn’t go to her parents. She waits until she can tell Patrice. Patrice is a dominant person in Stacey’s life and Stacey adores her. She is Stacey’s support and lifeline. I admire the work of rape prevention charities like Safeline, whose research shows that this is reflected in real life. Victims of abuse often don’t go to parents or teachers, or even the police. The friend is the first person many victims speak to, making them an essential part of that person’s life and case.
This has its own problems. In the case of Stacey, she leans on Patrice too much. She has to face a court case on her own and make decisions that don’t include Patrice. She gets advice, but in the end it has to be her who takes that step forward. It’s only when Stacey hardens up and steps away from Patrice that she is able to stand on her own two feet. Friendships change and grow over time, just like people. I felt it was important in these books to write a friendship that evolves and goes through its own struggles. But at its core is loving and supportive- something everyone needs.
Teenage friendship is important in these difficult years. But being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial. Just as the warm family base gives the confidence to reach outside and find friends so the comfort of close friends allows the teenager to stride out into the adult world and be themselves.
Anne Cassidy is the author of No Shame (Hot Key Books, 19th October)
You can buy a copy of No Shame here or from your local bookshop
About Anne Cassidy
Anne Cassidy was born in London in 1952. She was an awkward teenager who spent the Swinging Sixties stuck in a convent school trying, dismally, to learn Latin. She was always falling in love and having her heart broken. She worked in a bank for five years until she finally grew up. She then went to college before becoming a teacher for many years. In 2000 Anne became a full-time writer, specialising in crime stories and thrillers for teenagers. In 2004 LOOKING FOR JJ was published to great acclaim, going on to be shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Prize and the 2005 Carnegie Medal. MOTH GIRLS, published in 2016, was nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2017 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.
A huge thank you to Anne for such a fab post and to Rachel from Midas for asking me to host!
Have you read any of No Shame or No Virgin? 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 !
It’s almost Halloween and what better way to celebrate than with a spooky blog tour for a brilliant creepy book!
Scarecrow by Danny Weston was released on the 5th October 2017 pubished by Andersen Press and is set to keep you wide awake with fear as the dark nights are drawing in!
“A terrifying, historical horror story from the winner of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Award.”
“The perfect Halloween read for fans of Darren Shan, Joseph Delaney & Stephen Cole.”
Today I have the man himself sharing some fab tips for aspiring horror writers in this fab guest post….
Jack and his dad are runaways. Jack’s father recently turned whistleblower, revealing the truth about the illicit dealings of some powerful people. Realising that he and Jack might be in danger, Dad drives them to a remote shooting lodge in the Scottish Highlands, where they intend to lay low.
In the cornfield beside the lodge stands a scarecrow. When Jack witnesses something incredible, he begins to realise that it is no ordinary scarecrow – it is alive, hungry and fuelled by rage. And when Dad’s enemies begin to converge on the lodge, the scarecrow might just turn out to be Jack’s best hope of survival.
Top Tips For Aspiring Horror Writers
Hi. Danny Weston here. My new book Scarecrow is now available.
The good people who run this blog have asked me to put together my top tips for aspiring horror writers. Here they are:
Don’t ‘show’ too much. Remember that people are more frightened by what they don’t see than by what they do see.
Make sure the eerie happenings are seen through the eyes of your characters. ‘Show Don’t Tell.’ The three most important words for any writer of fiction. When a writer tells us about something happening, it loses so much. When we see it exactly as the characters in the book see it, then it comes alive.
Description is key. When something happens, you must paint a picture with words. Describe a thing in detail so your reader can picture it in their heads.
Keep up the pace. Don’t linger too long on one particular scene. I think of books as ‘head movies. Always be ready to cut away and move on to the next scene.
If you write a ghost story, never use the G Word. The word I’m referring to here is ‘ghost!’ Once you name it as that, it’s no longer a threat. Same goes for the V Word and the Z Word. Just say what you see and let the reader decide what that is.
Never give your characters an easy ride! They must be conflicted from the start. Give them problems to solve and hardships to overcome.
Never be afraid to rewrite a scene. Every time you do, it will get better.
And don’t forget to have fun with what you’re writing. If you’re not enjoying what you’re writing it will show. Readers can be very unforgiving. Keep them hooked right to the very end!
You can buy a copy of Scarecrow here or from your local book shop!
About Danny Weston
Danny Weston is an author for children and young adults. He lives in Edinburgh with his wife. In 2016, he won the Scottish Children’s Book Award for The Piper, and in 2017 his novel The Haunting of Jessop Rise won the Hillingdon Libraries’ Primary Book of the Year Award. When he’s not writing, Danny can be found visiting schools to talk about what it’s like to be an author. In October 2017, Danny will be embarking on a Halloween school tour to celebrate to release of Scarecrow.
Catch up for follow the rest of this spooky blog tour at the following stops or check out the hashtag #scarecrowbook
A huge thank you to Danny for a fab guest post and to Harriett at Andersen Press for asking me to host.
Have you read any of Scarecrow? Did you enjoy? What did you love about it? Do you have any horror writing tips? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !
I am over the moon to be part of the Fire Lines by Cara Thurlbourn, a fab new YA Fantasy, blog tour today with a fab guest post from the lady herself!
Fire Lines was released on the 26th September published by Bewick Press and looks absolutely fab!
So for my stop on the blog tour Cara is sharing her top 10 YA Books…..
When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?
Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.
But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?
Top 10 YA Books
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
One of my most recent reads, recommended by my sister and devoured in a day. Totally unputdownable with a huge twist that I didn’t see coming (and I’m usually great at spotting twists!)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I’m a sucker for an interesting narrator and The Book Thief certainly has that! I also love that against the very serious backdrop of The Second World War, Zusak celebrates books, words and freedom of expression.
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
I was given a copy of this book as a gift when I was perhaps thirteen or fourteen and that infamous first line “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”, probably sums up all of my dreamy notions of being a writer.
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
Another relatively recent read of mine, I love the way Sara Barnard tackles the themes of friendship and mental health. It was also really refreshing to read something where the main focus was on the intricacies female friendship and not a romance.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Just adorable. Eleanor reminded me so much of me that it was almost painful at times. Probably my favourite read of the year.
Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
A fierce heroine and a blend of the wild west and fantasy, what’s not to love?! It also gives me severe cover envy with its sparkliness.
My Sister Lives On The Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher
It’s quite a few years since I read this book but it still sticks with me as one of those ones that grabs you and doesn’t let go. I love the narrative and the way Annabel Pitcher cocoons her story in themes that are, sadly, very relevant today.
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
I listened to this on audio on my commute to work and often had to delay getting out of the car because it was just too good! So atmospheric and full of mystery and intrigue.
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
I love everything about this book, from the story itself to the physicality of it. The cover is stunning, the artwork on the pages is to die for and I can’t wait to get started on her latest The Island at the End of Everything.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Still mid-read but I can tell this will be one of my stand out books of the year. Another recommendation/lend from my sister and she’s rarely wrong with her tastes!
Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. ‘Fire Lines’ is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old.
Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.
She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities.
Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings.
You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: www.firelines.co.uk
You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!
A huge big thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to host this fab piece and to Cara for writing it.
Have you read Fire Lines? 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 !
Today I have a guest post from the wonderful Mark Illis with a fab guest post!
The Impossible, illustrated by Bimpe Alliu, was released on the 27th July published by Quercus and is “a comic-book inspired adventure with a graphic novel twist” that is not to be missed!
Today Mark chats about writing for teenagers and writing his first teenage novel, The Impossible in this fab guest post….
When Hector Coleman and his mates genetically mutate overnight, his life changes in impossible ways.
A comic-book inspired adventure with a graphic novel twist for fans of Joe Cowley, Joe Sugg and Charlie Higson.
Hector Coleman. Just your average angst-ridden teenager, living a normal rubbish life in a normal rubbish town with, let’s face it, a rubbish name. Until his mates start genetically mutating … and everything changes. Apart from his name. And his girl trouble. And his embarrassingly low number of Twitter followers. All those things, unfortunately, stay the same. For now …
Why does a 54 year old man want to write for teenagers? Because his inner teenager is alive and well, slouching on a bean-bag behind a closed door, smelling of stale sweat, in a bad mood about something, with his head in a book. He used to read The Famous Five, then The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Lord of the Rings, then he moved on to The Wizard of Earthsea,Lord of the Flies, To Kill A Mocking Bird and The Catcher in the Rye. That’s a pretty good reading list and I’d recommend it to anyone. It nourished my imagination, played a big part in turning me into whoever (whatever) I am today, but everything’s changed since then. The range of YA fiction has exploded over the last ten years or so, at roughly the rate of a zombie apocalypse.
One of my children is on her way out of teenager-dom, the other is on his way in, so I’ve read a lot of it in recent years, and I’ve discovered a fantastic new world, one which gives me a thrill of excitement and also a sharp slap of recognition. Somewhere along the way, my inner teenager stirred, lifted his head out of his book, blinked and said ‘Wait, what?’ (Because that’s what teenagers say these days.)
So of course, YA and teen fiction was a pool I wanted to dive into. I wanted to write for my children, I wanted to write for my slouchy, smelly teenage self, and I wanted to explore the preoccupations that have never left me. As an adult I read graphic novels, watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Marvel movies, and read novels like Station 11 and The Underground Railroad, both of which play interesting games with reality. All those influences feed into my writing for teenagers.
Since I crawled out of that bean-bag about 35 years ago, I’ve written four novels and a book of connected short stories, all broadly in the genre of literary fiction. That means that I had most of the tools I needed to write YA, because writing for teenagers requires exactly the same attention to character and language as writing for adults, but I also felt liberated, felt able to introduce a fantasy, science-fiction element. Mutations, aliens!
Writing my first teenage novel, The Impossible, was similar to writing a novel for adults, because it was a precarious journey into invented lives, an attempt to find the unique texture of those lives, to summon up something authentic, to imagine an experience that was never actually experienced. But writing The Impossible also surprised me in two ways.
First, I discovered that I like my teenage characters more than most of my adult ones. I like the challenge of trying to find teenage voices without seeming cringey or weird. I like their enthusiasm and their ennui, their humour and their seriousness (often at the same time), that unguarded, jagged quality which makes them vulnerable. The life buzzing and flickering like electricity in their dialogue.
And secondly, I discovered that writing for teenagers feels at least as personal as writing an adult, literary novel. The Impossible is about teenagers coping with change colliding with their lives. To return to that first question – why am I, a 54 year old bloke, writing about that? Because change collided with my life when I was a teenager. The sort of change that you have to integrate into your life and find a way to use, because the only alternative is to be crushed by it. That’s what I wanted to explore, extrapolate from and – kind of – celebrate.
The garish, weird monsters are metaphors. It’s what makes them effective and familiar and even, in a sense, plausible.
You can buy a copy of The Impossible here or from your local bookshop
About Mark Illis
Mark was born in London in 1963. He bought comics, watched Star Trek, went to see The Clash and loved reading and writing. He had some short stories published at university, and went on to do an MA in Creative Writing at UEA, where Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter were his tutors. That was a good year.
In his twenties Mark had three novels published by Bloomsbury, A CHINESE SUMMER, THE ALCHEMIST and THE FEATHER REPORT. He was also teaching English GCSE part-time, doing research for a charity called Shape, and then working as a Literature Development Worker, ‘raising the profile of literature in Berkshire.’ Exciting times. In 1992 Mark moved to West Yorkshire to be a Centre Director for the Arvon Foundation, after which he started writing for TV and radio. He has written three radio plays and has written for EastEnders, The Bill and Peak Practice. He wrote for Emmerdale for over a decade. He also wrote the award-winning screenplay for Before Dawn, a relationship drama with zombies.
Mark has taught writing in schools, libraries, universities, Reading Prison and Broadmoor Secure Hospital, and has run workshops in Hong Kong and Norway. He has taught more than 30 Arvon courses, has given readings at festivals from Brighton to Edinburgh, Cheltenham to King’s Lynn, and has reviewed for The Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator and Radio 4’s Kaleidoscope. He has recently been working for the charity First Story and for the Royal Literary Fund. He’s married with two children and a kitten and is still living in West Yorkshire.
His fourth book, TENDER, was published in 2009, and his fifth, THE LAST WORD, (shortlisted for The Portico Prize) in 2011, both by Salt.
In July 2017, his first Young Adult novel, THE IMPOSSIBLE, winner of a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015, will be published by Quercus. When teenagers in Gilpin start suffering from strange mutations, someone needs to find out what’s going on. Enter Hector, who’s suffering maybe the strangest mutation of all.
A huge big thank you to Emily at Quercus for asking me to host this fab piece and to Mark for writing it.
Have you read The Impossible? 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 !
Today, 7th September 2017, is the publication day of the wonderful Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls and I am over the moon to be kicking of the blog tour for this amazing book with the opening chapter of the book!
Things A Bright Girl Can Do tells the story of three girls, Evelyn, May and Nell, caught up in the Suffragette movement and has had rave reviews already!
So sit back, relax and read this extract from the opening chapter…
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.
Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.
May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.
But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?
You can buy a copy of Things A Bright Girl Can Do here or from your local bookshop!
You can find a previous Q&A with Sally on Tales here
About Sally Nicholls
I was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. My father died when I was two, and my brother Ian and I were brought up my mother. I always wanted to write – when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say “I’m going to be a writer” – very definite.
I live in a small house in Oxford with my husband and little boy.
You can follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!
A huge big thank you to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to be part of and kick off this fab blog tour and to Sally for such a fab book!
Have you read Things A Bright Girl Can Do? Did you enjoy? What do you love about historical fiction? 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 !
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 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!
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 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
I am over the moon to have been asked by the lovely Nina Douglas to reveal the gorgeous cover for The Last Days Of Archie Maxwell by the brilliant Annabel Pitcher.
Annabel is the International Award Winning Author of My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece, Ketchup Clouds and Silence Is Goldfish and this time she has teamed up with the lovelies at Barrington Stoke to bring us The Last Days Of Archie Maxwell.
I am super excited to read this and of course reveal this truly stunning cover! I also have a little gorgeous intro from the lady herself, Annabel…..
The Last Days Of Archie Maxwell
Dads leave home all the time. It’s not that unusual, really. Leon’s dad walked out. So did Mo’s. But Archie’s? Well, that’s a different story – a story that Archie must keep secret at all cost. Archie knows he should accept Dad for who he is, so he hides his turmoil until he can stand it no longer. With nowhere else to turn, he finds himself at the railway track. The track has been calling to him, promising escape, release. The only problem is, it’s been calling to someone else too…
Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+
About Annabel Pitcher
I was born in a small village in West Yorkshire where there were more sheep than people. No traffic, one shop, two pubs and lots of fields to play in – perfect. I love the country and, though I’ve enjoyed living in cities, I am definitely happiest in the middle of nowhere surrounded by hills.
Or why not follow Annabel on twitter – @APitcherAuthor
And now the moment you have all been waiting for, but first lets hand you over to Annabel…..
IT’S HERE AT LAST!
I am SO thrilled to share with you the gorgeous, moody cover of my latest novel, The Last Days of Archie Maxwell. This book wrote itself. Well, it didn’t, in that I spent a huge amount of time at my desk, typing away, but the words came very easily (which isn’t always the case!). The idea popped into my head one rainy day in West Yorkshire as I was walking my dog by a railway track. Our path took us across the track itself. It wasn’t fenced off. There wasn’t even a sign telling us to be careful. The track was just…. there. Easily accessible. It ran directly past the gardens of a row of terraces, visible from their kitchens and bedrooms. As I stood on the track, staring down it, a train appeared in the distance. No alarm sounded to tell me to be careful. A guard didn’t appear to shove me off the track. There was just me and the train, the train and me. I stood for a few seconds longer than I should have done, and at that point, the idea for the story came to me. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Isn’t it gorgeous!!!
You can buy a copy of The Last Days Of Archie Maxwell here
(Please note that this book is not due for release until 15th November 2017)
A huge thank you to Annabel for the wonderful intro and insight into her new book and to Nina Douglas for asking me to feature this fab cover reveal!
What do you think of the cover for The Last Days Of Archie Maxwell? Are you intrigued? Have you read any of Annabel’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 !
Welcome to the British Books Challenge 2017 – July!
So July has crept up way too fast! Halfway through 2017 already?! Say what now?!
And again so many amazing reviews linked up for the June British Books Challenge! You all did SO amazing! I’m so glad to see you are all enjoying the challenge so much! I heart you all very much!
Also a little apology from me for getting this linky up so late again – I honestly do not know where the time is going?!
66 reviews of books by British Authors were linked up in June!
That makes a grand total of 523 reviews of books by British Authors in total since we all started in January!
And thank you so much for embracing our author and debut of the month for June as well as all of the other amazing books you all read!
Thank you all!
Lets pull out or sun chair and jump to July!
About The British Books Challenge
The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running here on Tales Of Yesterday between 1st January 2017 to 31st December 2017 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.
I have created a #BritishBooksChallenge17 summary page here which will also keep track of my own progress in the challenge too.
If you have not signed up yet there’s still plenty of time – find out more about the challenge here
Please note you can sign up to the challenge at any time throughout the year but only sign up entries made on or before the 31st December 2016 will be entered to win the sign up prize.
This is the first time I am hosting this particular challenge and I have lots of things planned for us all!
I have been in touch with lots of publishers who have kindly donated lots of lovely prize packs for us throughout the year for the challenge!
Right lets get the ball for June rolling starting with the winner of the June Prize Pack!
With thanks to the lovely people at Walker Books for June’s brilliant bumper prize pack contained the following five books…..
All valid reviews and links by British Authors that were linked up on the June linky here were eligible to be entered to win the June prize pack. With people who read any books by our Author Of The Month, Non Pratt and/or our Debut of the month, Being Miss Nobody by Tamsin Winter, earning extra entries.
Please email me your address so that I can arrange for your prize to be sent out to you!
I hope everyone also enjoyed all the extra giveaways and posts I ran on my blog or via twitter over June too 🙂
July’s prize pack has been kindly donated by the lovely people at Gollanczand contains the following 4 books)……
The republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.
The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.
Blackwing is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.
Toby is a boy who has forgotten how to live. Clara is a girl who was born to die.
Toby’s life was perfectly normal . . . Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House. Isolated from the outside world the inhabitants of are watched for any signs of a mysterious illness . . .
Clara was a girl who had everything. Adored by her friends and her family, her life was destined for greatness. Now, Clara is the newest resident of the Death House and she’s determined not to allow her life to end there.
This is Toby and Clara’s story.
Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother. Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.
But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?
Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent’s principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he’s not forced to rely on others or kill without cause.
Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won’t turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he’s met over the years.
So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.
A huge thank you to Gollancz for donating this super brilliant Prize Pack for July!
I also have a couple of special post from these authors going up throughout June too!
One winner will be picked at random from the list of valid reviews submitted each month and will be announced in the following month’s review link up post. The winner will then have 1 week to contact me to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen. Obviously the more reviews you enter the greater your chance of winning and don’t forget you gain extra entries for any reviews by Debut or Author of the Month for July! It doesn’t matter if you only review one book (or even skip a month or two in the challenge!) you’ll still be entered for each review you do write.
Only participants with a valid sign up page that has been linked here are eligible for entry to the monthly prize packs mentioned on this monthly link up page – you can still sign up here
When you add your link to the Mr. Linky below please make sure you link directly to your review, not just to your blog/vlog (invalid links will be deleted)
Books must have been read and reviewed in 2017 to count towards the challenge so those books you read last year but reviewed in 2017 don’t count! Only books reviewed in June on your blog will count towards the challenge (you could have read them in earlier in the year though – I’m feeling kind 🙂 )
Also, please make sure that the reviews you link are for books written by British Authors – they can be born in Britain (living here or abroad) or they can be adopted British Authors (who were born elsewhere and now live here) but if they don’t fit into one of those categories then they don’t count. (as above invalid links will be deleted and won’t get you an entry into the prize pack). Please note that Britain includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, I’m afraid authors from Southern Ireland don’t count.
Also see the Author Of The Month and Debut Of The Month section for ways to gain extra entries each month!
And lastly feel free to share your reviews on social media using the #BritishBooksChallenge17hashtag – it’s not compulsory but it would be fun to share any great British Books you have loved with others!
Lets get chatting and celebrating all of the brilliant British books and authors that we have and all of the wonderful British books that we are reading!
Always remember – never tweet an author into a negative review and be constructive.
For more information about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 click here
If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge giveaways please contact me by email.
And the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for July is…….
Lisa’s beautiful words and stories will captivate you and break you. The are simply gorgeous and I’m so happy that she is our July Author Of The Month!
Not heard of Lisa and her books? I have you covered!
Look out for a Spotlight post in the next few days about Lisa and her brilliant books!
If you read, review and link up any books by the author of the month (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw. So a double entry for one review!
If the author has multiple books and you read them all you will gain a double entry for each review of each book.
I also have a special treat lined up too!
Look out for a post with the lady herself going live at some point in June!
If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge author of the month then please contact me by email.
As always there are so many good debuts coming out this month that it was really hard to decide which to pick….
And the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Debut Of The Month for July is…….
No Filter Book by Orlagh Collins
I am so hugely excited about this wonderful YA book and am so happy that it is our Debut Of The Month!
Not heard of No Filter Book by Orlagh Collins? I have you covered!
Look out for a Spotlight post in the next few days about this book!
If you read, review and link up a review of No Filter Book by Orlagh Collins (in the same month that they are debut of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw. So a double entry for one review!
I also have some special treats lined up too!
If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their debut through the British Books Challenge debut of the month then please contact me by email.
As well as the above I have lots of other exciting posts and giveaways going up throughout the month too which I will run through twitter and share using the hashtag so do look out for those too!
As well as following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge17I would also suggest following my blog using your preferred feed subscription (by email by filling in the subscription box at the top of my blog , BlogLovin’ etc) in order to keep up with the latest news and posts regarding this challenge throughout 2017!
Here’s to a wonderful July!
Now for the important part, make sure you link all of your reviews using the Mr. Linky form below. In the Your Name field please include your blog name, the title of the book and the author. Make sure the link takes me directly to your review or your entry won’t count and will be deleted from the list.
Name – Please add your name and blog / YouTube channel e.g Chelley Toy – Tales Of Yesterday
URL – Please add a direct link to your review post here
I am so so excited to have the wonderful and awesome Chris Russell on the blog today to celebrate the release of his second book in his fab Songs About A Girl Trilogy, Songs About Us.
Songs About Us was released on the 13th July 2017 published by Hodder Children’s Books and is set to be a phenomenal read that will set your heart racing!
A modern love story for fans of Zoella – and for anyone who has ever dreamed of being ‘with the band’.
I’ve met Chris a few times now and I know he is in a brilliant band called The Lightyears so when Chris got in touch about a post I jumped straight in and asked him for his top tips on “Being With The Band”…..
A modern love story for fans of Zoella – and for anyone who has ever dreamed of being ‘with the band’.
Two months on from the explosive finale to book one, Charlie’s life is almost back to normal again: rebuilding her relationship with her father, hanging out with best mate Melissa, and worrying about GCSEs. All the while, Gabe’s revelations about her mother are never far from her mind. And neither is Gabe.
It’s not long before Charlie is pulled back into the world of Fire&Lights – but the band seem different this time. But then again, so is she…
Meanwhile, tensions between Gabe and Olly continue to run high, leading to more turmoil between the band members and press than ever before. But when Gabriel and Charlie stumble upon yet another startling truth that links them together – everything they have stands to implode in front of them.
Chris Russell’s Guide To Being “With The Band”
You can buy both Songs About A Girl and Songs About Us here or from your local bookshop!
About Chris Russell
When I was thirteen, my best friend and I went to a Bon Jovi concert at Wembley Stadium. We thought it looked like fun, so we started our own band – a band that, ten years later, would become The Lightyears. Since then, we’ve been lucky enough to tour all over the world, from Cape Town to South Korea, playing at Glastonbury Festival and O2 Arena and supporting members of legendary rock bands such as Queen, Journey and The Who. And though we never made it anywhere near as big as Bon Jovi, we did get to play Wembley Stadium, four times, to crowds of over 45,000 people.
Music aside, writing was my first love. In 2014, I published a novel called MOCKSTARS, which was inspired by my tour diaries for The Lightyears. Shortly afterwards, following a three-month stint ghostwriting for a One Direction fan club, I came up with the idea of a YA novel that combined an intense teenage romance with the electrifying universe of a chart-topping boyband. That idea became the trilogy SONGS ABOUT A GIRL, which was signed up by Hodder Children’s in 2015, and has sold in multiple territories worldwide.
You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!
A huge thank you to Chris for asking me to be part of his fab blog tour and for going along with my insane idea for a video! Also a huge thank you to Hachette for sending me a copy of the book.
Have you read Songs About A Girl and/or Songs About Us? What did you think? Do you love Boy Band Lit?? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment by clicking the reply button at the top of this page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy