Tales Review – Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone


‘Once an adventure digs its claws in, there is not an awful lot you can do about it. Especially when magic is involved . . .’
 

In the snowy kingdom of Erkenwald, whales glide between icebergs, wolves hunt on the tundra and polar bears roam the glaciers. But the people of this land aren’t so easy to find – because Erkenwald is ruled by an evil Ice Queen and the tribes must stay hidden or risk becoming her prisoners at Winterfang Palace.

Join Eska, a girl who breaks free from a cursed music box, and Flint, a boy whose inventions could change the fate of Erkenwald forever, as they journey to the Never Cliffs and beyond in search of an ancient, almost forgotten, song with the power to force the Ice Queen back.
 
This is a story about an eagle huntress, an inventor and an organ made of icicles. But it is also a story about belonging, even at the very edges of our world . . .


Publisher – Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Date Published – 4th January 2018

Pages – 288 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – Children’s, MG, UKMG

Source –

I was sent a proof copy of this book by the wonderful the publishers in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way.  Thank you Simon & Shuster Children’s for sending me this book to read and review.  I also bought a finished copy myself from my local bookshop.


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


Back in 2015 a proof landed on my doorstep of a new book by a debut writer.  That book was The Dreamsnatcher and the debut author was Abi Elphinstone.  Three years later and I squealed with excitement when a proof copy of Sky Song, Abi’s fourth book and a stand alone story, landed on my doorstep and I just knew that a magical adventure was awaiting between the pages ready to sweep me off my feet.

And swept off my feet I was….completely.

Sky Song tells the story of Eska who has been captured inside Winterfang Palace by the evil Ice Queen who rules all of Erkenwald.  Stuck frozen inside a cursed music box Eska has no memories of where she has come from, who she is or why the evil Ice Queen wants to steal her voice from her.  All tribes in Erkenwald  must stay hidden or risk becoming prisoners themselves , but one boy, an inventor called Flint who still believes in magic, breaks into the castle on a mission to save his parents who have been captured by the evil Ice Queen.  He decides to break the curse that is holding Eska in her music box and when this causes his plan to save his parents to go wrong Flint and Eska escape together and so begins their journey to find an ancient song with the power to restore Erkenwald back to its former glory without the Ice Queen at it’s helm.

Straight away from the fairy-tale prologue you instantly know that Sky Song is going to be something very very special indeed.  Abi Elphinstone instantly builds the foundations of Erkenwald around the reader drawing them into the depths of its icy, snowy world where anything is possible and it is truly wonderful.

With it’s wintery snowy setting with vast epic landscapes and snow capped mountains Sky Song is as breath taking in the imagery it creates as the story it tells.  An adventure of bravery, friendship, kindness and belonging, through frozen waterfalls with secret hideaways, labyrinths with rope ladders,  snow monsters, Erkenbears, an eagle and most of all magic.

The story is told from both Eska and Flint’s voice with varying chapters with the story sometimes giving us a glimpse from the evil Ice Queens point of view too.  I enjoyed all of these and it made the story flow really nicely with a good pace that makes the reader eager to keep flicking the pages to find out what will happen next. 

The Ice Queen has such a terrifying, powerful and frosty presence on every page she appears on.  From her black staff, her evil magic captivating people under her spell, to her icicle organ that plays the voices of her prisoners to the whole land.  She is a magnificent character that is not easily forgotten.

The same goes for Flint’s sister, Blu, too.  I loved her character so much and I loved how devoted she is to her brother and never doubts him for one second.  Even when she is in the most gravest of danger she believes in her brother and Eska and becomes a brave adventurer herself.

Eska, Flint and Blu never give up hope.

One of my favourite parts of the book has to be when Eska, Flint and Blu find The Grey Man….who’s character I absolutely loved.  I don’t want to give too much away but he made me smile lots.

This book would make the most breath-taking film or TV movie….someone sign it up now please!

Abi Elphinstone is hands down one of my favourite authors.  And Sky Song is a classic in the making.  Her writing and storytelling is just as stunning and as precious as a diamond which will dazzle you with it’s pure beauty.

I recommend this book to both adventurers young and old and want to be swirled into a gorgeous snow storm of a book with unforgettable characters and a story that will make you feel like you have found your tribe and where you belong.

“Once an adventure digs it’s claws in, there is not an awful lot you can so about it.  Especially when magic is involved….”

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

You can by a copy of Sky Song here or from your local bookshop


About Abi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. She is the author of THE DREAMSNATCHER, THE SHADOW KEEPER and THE NIGHT SPINNER, a series of fast-paced adventure books for 8-12 year olds which follow Moll, Sid, Alfie and wildcat Gryff’s quest to find the Amulets of Truth and destroy the Shadowmasks’ dark magic. When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk charity, speaks in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

You can find more about Abi at www.abielphinstone.com or follow her on social media: Facebook: www.facebook.com/abi.elphinstone; Twitter: @moontrug; Instagram: @moontrugger.


Previously On Tales…

Click on the below links for previous post with Abi Elphinstone her on Tales Of Yesterday!

Tales Review – The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone

Corey’s Corner Review – The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone

Guest Post – The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone

Guest Post – Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs by Abi Elphinstone

Guest Post – The Adventures Behind The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone

Spotlight – British Books Challenge Author Of The Month – Abi Elphinstone


Have you read Sky song?  What did you think?  Have you read any of Abi’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment by clicking on the reply button at the top of the page or why not tweet me on twitter – @chelleytoy .  I would love to hear from you!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – An Introduction To Make Me Awesome by Ben Davis


Today I am excited to be kicking of the super brilliant Make Me Awesome Blog Tour with a fab guest post from the author himself, Ben Davis.

Make Me Awesome was released on the 4th January 2018, published by OUP, and will have you laughing your socks off!  And with illustrations by Mike Lowery…it’s just the perfect combination!

Myself and my son are huge fans of Ben Davis and we have spent many a night or too giggling whilst reading his books so am hugely honoured to have Ben on the blog today.  Ben was also one of our authors of the month for the 2017 British Books Challenge!

So sit back and let Ben introduce you to Make Me Awesome….


Hey you! Yes, you! Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought Wow! My life is really rubbish? I can tell from looking at you that you probably have. But I’m here to tell you that all that is about to change.

Why not climb aboard the Make Me Awesome programme and buy a one way ticket to Awesometown, calling at Successville, Dollarsdale, and Camp You’re the Greatest!

My name is Chuck Willard and I CAN make you AWESOME, just like me!

(Well, maybe not that awesome, I’m one of a kind)

When Freddie Smallhouse signs up to the Make Me Awesome programme, he’s ready to turn himself from zero to hero, all with the help of his idol, Chuck Willard. Freddie embarks on various schemes to make himself awesome safe in the knowledge that Chuck is always there, at the end of an email, to give him lots of personal advice . . . isn’t he?

A new laugh-out-loud story, from the brilliantly funny author of the Joe Cowley series and My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral.


An Introduction to Make Me Awesome

Hi! I’m Ben Davis. You may know me as the author of the Joe Cowley book series. Or maybe you’re familiar with my MG books My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral or Danny Dread. In all likelihood, you probably think I’m that Welsh guy that plays for Spurs. You’d be wrong to think that though because his last name is Davies and us Davises don’t take kindly to getting confused with that lot. In fact, whenever I meet a Davies I am bound by law to challenge them to a duel.

Anyway, enough about that. The reason I am on this fine blog is to tell you about my new book, Make Me Awesome, which is out now. So glad wacky old Captain Wotsit hasn’t blown us all up before it came out.

It is the story of Freddie, a thirteen year old boy whose family has fallen on tough times. His dad’s antiques business has gone under, they’ve lost their house and are having to live with miserly Uncle Barry. While Mum soldiers on and Dad sinks into a funk, Freddie is determined to pull them out of their slump, and he has enlisted some inspirational help.

Introducing the Complete Road to Awesomeness Programme – the online self-help guide carefully constructed by life coach and giver of dreams, Chuck Willard. It is Chuck’s job to help Freddie back on the path to Awesomeness with his handy hints, tips and pep talks.

But don’t take my word for it – here is Chuck’s infomercial.

The book sees Freddie utilise Chuck’s expertise in order to succeed as a young entrepreneur, sportsman and, when he runs for school President against his arch nemesis, Malvern Pope, young politician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read a particularly cringeworthy extract from it in this video….

I think it’s a common thing for kids to look to celebrities for inspiration. To create heroes. As a kid, mine was Eric Cantona. And you can bet if he set up a life advice programme, I would have signed up straight away. Even if I was terrible at football. And never kung fu kicked Crystal Palace fans.

But let me tell you this – all the Awesomeness you need is within you. You don’t need a celebrity or a book to teach you. Wait, what am I saying, yes you do – Make Me Awesome, out now with OUP. God, I’m rubbish at self promotion.

You can buy a copy of Make Me Awesome here or from your local book shop!


About Ben Davis


Ben Davis writes funny books for older children and teenagers. His first book, The Private Blog of Joe Cowley series has been hailed as a Wimpy Kid for a new generation.

He has also written standalone books for younger readers, like the supervillain tale, Danny Dread, and the critically acclaimed My Embarrassing Dad’s Gone Viral.

Before he became a published author, Ben wrote jokes and sketches for radio shows and various other bits and bobs.

When he’s not writing, he regularly visits schools and leads creative writing workshops.

These days, Ben lives with his wife and son in Staffordshire and in his spare time, likes to put his dog in daft costumes.

You can follow Ben on the Twitters and the Instagrams @bendavis_86 and his website is www.bendavisauthor.com

About Mark Lowery

Mike Lowery is an illustrator currently living in Atlanta. Mike’s work has been seen on everything from greetings cards to gallery walls all over the world. He is a Professor of Illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design Atlanta.


Blog Tour

You can follow the rest of this Awesome blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Ben for a fab guest post and to Hannah and Kirsty at OUP for asking me to me part of this awesome blog tour!

#MakeMeAwesome

Have you read Make Me Awesome?  What did you think?  Have you read any of Ben’s other books?  What are your favourites?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – British Books Challenge – January 2018


Welcome to the British Books Challenge 2018!

#BritishBooksChallenge18 

And Happy January!

Where on earth did last year go?!

I’m so excited that so many of you have signed up for the #BritishBooksChallenge18!  It’s nice seeing some new faces and of course some British Book Challenge regulars.

Thank you all! We are all going to have so much fun!

The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running here on Tales Of Yesterday between 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2018 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.

I have created a #BritishBooksChallenge18 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 2017 will be entered to win the sign up prize.

This is the second time I am hosting this particular challenge and I have lots of things planned for us all to discover some amazing British Authors!

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 started!


I am treating one lucky sign up winner to start off their New Year in the best bookish way possible with a Waterstones gift card of £15! If you were signed up for the British Books Challenge 2018 on or before the 31st December 2017 then you were entered into the prize draw!

22 people have signed up to the challenge before the 31st December (24 participants in total so far).  These 22 people were all entered into the prize draw.

I’ve picked a winner at random….

And the winner is…….

Dana @ Much Madness is Divinest Sense

Congratulations!

What a lovely New Year Treat!

Please email me your address so that I can arrange for your prize to be sent out to you!


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January’s prize pack has been kindly donated by the lovelies at Electric Monkey and Egmont and contains 5 the following 5 books!

A huge thank you to Electric Monkey and Egmont for donating these brilliant books to kick off our New Year in style!

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.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 January! 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.

Please Remember…..

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 January 2018 to count towards the challenge so those books you read in December but reviewed in January don’t count!

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 #BritishBooksChallenge18 hashtag – 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 #BritishBooksChallenge18 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 #BritishBooksChallenge18 Author Of The Month for January is…….

MARTIN STEWART!

Before I was a writer, I was a caddie, barman, recycling technician, wine advisor, university lecturer, and English teacher. My time in the classroom inspired me to turn my pen towards writing for younger readers, and now I love visiting schools to help students develop their own writing, and to encourage them to pursue their creative ambitions. As a writer, I’m interested in the stories that take place in the shadows, and exploring the tension between laughter and fear. I love the work of John Steinbeck and Philip Pullman. More than anything else, I love to edit, because that’s where the real writing gets done. You can read about how I became a writer here. As a human being, I’m interested in spending time with my partner and daughter, running on the beach with the dog, trying to make the perfect Old Fashioned, cooking with eggs, re-watching my favourite films as often as possible, and listening to podcasts whenever I can.

You can find out more about Martin on his website – www.martinstewartwriter.com

Or follow Martin on Twitter – @martinjstewart

An atmospheric, chilling page turner from rising star Martin Stewart, reminiscent of Stand by Me and Stranger Things.

Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they’ll never visit it alone; and they’ll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, a series of strange and terrifying events take place. Someone broke the rules, and now everyone has to pay.

But how much are they willing to sacrifice?

 

Fifteen-year-old Wulliam is dreading taking up his family’s mantle of Riverkeep, tending the river and fishing corpses from its treacherous waters. But then everything changes. One night his father is possessed by a dark spirit, and Wull hears that a cure lurks deep within the great sea-beast known as the mormorach. He realizes he must go on an epic journey downriver to find it – or lose Pappa forever.

 

 

Don’t Forget…..

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.

Look out for a special post from the man himself sometime in January and there may also be a giveaway!

#BritishBooksChallenge18

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.


There are so many good debuts coming out this month that it was really hard to decide which to pick…..

So the our #BritishBooksChallenge18 Debut Of The Month for January is…….

The Fandom by Anna Day

 

‘THE FANDOM is an absolute thrill to read … Highly recommended!’ JAMES DASHNER, AUTHOR OF THE MAZE RUNNER
Violet and her friends love being part of the fandom for The Gallows Dance. But at Comic-Con, they’re somehow catapulted into the story itself – for real. Trapped in a twisted world where they’ve accidentally killed the original hero, Rose, there’s only one way to survive: Violet must fill Rose’s shoes and put the plot back on track. No story is worth dying for … is it?

 


I’m an Author/single mum/Clinical psychologist/Geordie/ lover of stories, music and floaty things.

 

You can find out more about Anna on her website – www.annadaybooks.com

Or follow Anna on Twitter – @annadayauthor

 

Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up a review of The Fandom by Anna Day (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!

Look out for a special The Fandom post sometime in January and there may also be a giveaway!

#BritishBooksChallenge18

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 following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18 I 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 2018!

Thanks for signing up for the British Books Challenge 2018!  Happy Reading!

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 British Books Challenge sign up post here




Tales Post – 2018 Goals


Happy New Year!  Happy 2018!

So this year,2018, I thought I would cut back on all of the bookish challenges I normally set myself and do things a little differently by setting myself some blogging, reading, writing and personal goals.

I want to be able to look back on this post at the end of 2018 and think do you know what I achieved all of what I set out to do.

I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself but these are the things I really want to focus on for 2018.


Reading

So I considered not setting myself a Goodreads Challenge this year, but after some thought I decided to set it at 30 books and see how I go.  I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and want to enjoy reading more in 2018 to try some different genres.  In other words I’m not going to worry too much about my “number” on Goodreads and enjoy what I do read.

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Make a pile of the books I’ve been lucky enough to receive from publishers and authors into the relevant months they are due for release and read what I fancy from that pile.  If I don’t get to all of them then that’s fine.  I can the re-assess the pile at the end of the month.

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I would like to read more classics.  I seem to say this every year and I really want to say I will read one once a month, but I feel the pressure of that will make me not do it.  So I am leaving this open to reading at least a couple of classics this year.

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Something that I really want to get back into monthly is reading a Point Horror Book for #PointHorrorBookClub.  The nostalgia alone will make this goal easy to maintain.

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I feel sometimes I get wrapped up in all the new releases of the year and neglect some of the older books that came before them so I want to at least read one non 2018 book a month from my TBR pile or library.

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Carry on buddy reading with the lovely Amy – @YAUndermyskin

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Blogging

Continue to support as many authors, bloggers and publishers on my blog as possible.  I really do love it.

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Review a book after reading it!

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Continue to share as many fab tweets, reviews, blog posts of fab books and more by fab bloggers.

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Comment on as many peoples fab blog posts as possible.

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Put the British Books Challenge up every month on time!  And host our author and debut of the month on the blog.

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Don’t be afraid to write some more personal posts that may or may not be book related.

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Use Instagram and Instagram Stories more for hauls and pictures of books I have received/reading/excited for etc.

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Reignite #PointHorrorBookClub monthly and on the 13th of every month.  I enjoy doing it and have missed it so I really can’t wait.

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Join in with fab chats like #UKYAChat and #SundayYA as much as possible

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Writing

Continue with my current WIP

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Write something (not blogging wise) at least 2 – 3 times a week and remember that even 20 minutes is better than nothing.

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Work on something exciting with Amy @YAUndermyskin

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Show people I trust my writing – be brave!

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Personal Goals

In 2017 I lost 7 Stone 2lb and believe me when I say I am still quite over weight.  I find it hard talking about loosing weight as its such a personal and sensitive subject to me, but  I want to maintain being healthy and lose some more weight.  Ideally I would like to reach a 10 Stone total weight loss and then reassess where I am at.

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Continue walking as much as possible or exercise 2 – 3 times a week.

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Be brave and start going swimming.

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Do another charity walk

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Continue to remember to “be a little kinder than you have to” – life is to short not to be

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Try not to dwell too much on things I have no control over and remember to put myself first sometimes.

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Remember to be proud of myself.  I do not do this often enough!

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Spend more time with my gorgeous family and enjoy more family time – life is too short!

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There you have it….my goals written down in actual writing…here to reflecting back at the end of 2018 and I may pop back every month to refocus and remind myself.

Happy New Year

Tales Post – Best Books Read In 2017


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

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

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

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

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

These will be listed in no particular order.

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

Thank You All x

Here we go…..

(remember these are in no particular order…. )


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Guest Post – My Favourite Reality TV Shows by Stephanie Kate Strohm


It’s Christmas Eve and what better way to celebrate than to have a wonderful author here on the blog!

Today I have the super wonderful Stephanie Kate Strohm on Tales to celebrate the release of her new YA romantic comedy, Prince In Disguise published by Disney-Hyperion.

I was lucky enough to meet Stephanie this year when I chaired an event at Waterstones Birmingham and lots of laughs were had so I literally cannot wait to jump into this book!

Prince In Disguise finds our main character Dylan as part of a reality TV programme so I thought it would be great to hear all about Stephanie’s favourite reality TV guilty pleasures…..


Someday I want to live in a place where I never hear ‘You’re Dusty’s sister?’ ever again. Life is real enough for Dylan -especially as the ordinary younger sister of Dusty, former Miss Mississippi and the most popular girl in Tupelo. But when Dusty wins the hand of the handsome Scottish laird-to-be Ronan, Dylan has to face a different kind of reality: reality TV. At least there’s Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsman who might just be the perfect antidote to all Dylan’s stress… if she just can keep TRC from turning her into the next reality show sensation.


My Favourite Reality TV Shows

I watch…a lot of reality TV. But I also read a lot of books, so I think it totally evens out! Prince in Disguise, my newest book, combines these two great loves, as it is a book about a reality TV show! When Dylan’s older sister Dusty falls in love with a Scottish lord on a reality dating show, the entire family is whisked off to Scotland to televise the wedding, much to Dylan’s chagrin. Like Dylan, I wouldn’t want to be on a reality show, but I do love watching them! Here are a few of my favourites:

Say Yes to the Dress 

Simple but brilliant. Brides head to Kleinfeld’s in NYC to shop for their dream dresses with the help of Kleinfeld’s stellar team of bridal consultants. Sometimes there’s drama caused by unsupportive family members, but there’s almost always a happy ending as the bride says yes to the dress. I could watch an infinite amount of these back-to-back-to-back, even though every bride with a budget over a certain amount ends up choosing the exact same Pnina Tornai gown.

My Fair Wedding with David Tutera

This show has since rebranded itself as first David Tutera: Unveiled and then David Tutera’s CELEBrations, but it is not as good as it was in the halcyon days of My Fair Wedding, specifically the masterpiece that is Season 3. Celebrity wedding planner David Tutera helps brides short on time, money, or organizational abilities miraculous pull together their dream weddings. The themes – and the weddings – became increasingly elaborate as time went on, often with such high production values that they looked more like film sets than weddings. My beloved Season 3 brought up such treasures as a Phantom of the Opera wedding, a Wizard of Oz wedding, an Alice in Wonderland wedding, and a mini-truck wedding. (That’s right. The theme of the wedding was small trucks.)

 Four Weddings

The weddings on Four Weddings are never the over-the-top confections David Tutera might dream up, and in some ways, that’s part of their appeal. Four strangers from the same area meet and then attend each others’ weddings, ranking them in such categories as dress, venue, food, and overall experience. There’s something kind of evil but also deliciously fun about watching people say out loud all the judgmental things you think when you’re at your cousin’s/sorority sister’s/whoever’s wedding.

 Top Chef

The only thing I love more than weddings is eating. (So if your wedding has really great food, yes, it would be my ideal event!) There are a lot of reality TV cooking competitions (see: basically all of Food Network and Cooking Channel), but for me, nothing beats Top Chef. I love getting to know the chefs and their stories, I love the challenges and the different restaurants and farms they visit, but most of all, I love seeing plate after plate of delicious food. The only thing it’s missing is some romance. If a few more of these chefs would start kissing each other, then it would literally be a perfect show.

Special UK Bonus 

When I was on vacation in England, I caught an episode of The Geordie Shore. It was like Jersey Shore, but way better! I quickly became obsessed and spent way too much time watching it. I have since read all of Charlotte Crosby’s books and done her 3 Minute Belly Blitz workout. Since no one in the states knows who Charlotte Crosby is, I have no sense of how embarrassed I should be about this. (Like, for example, I would never admit to anyone that I’d done Snooki from Jersey Shore’s workout, if such a thing existed.)

Prince In Disguise is out now and you can by a copy here


About Stephanie Kate Strohm


STEPHANIE KATE STROHM is also the author of Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, Confederates Don’t Wear Couture, The Taming of the Drew, and It’s Not Me, It’s You. She works as an actress and teacher in Chicago. Visit her website at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com and on Twitter @stephkatestrohm.


A huge thank you to Stephanie for such a fab guest post and to Amy at Disney-Hyperion for getting in touch about hosting.

Have you read Prince In Disguise?  What did you think?  Do you enjoy reality TV?  What are your favourites?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guet Post – The Perfect Christmas Book by Katey Lovell


Today I finally have one of my most favourite humans ever on the blog –  the amazing and super wonderful Katey Lovell to celebrate the release of her new Christmassy romantic comedy, Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown!

Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown was released in paperback on the 30th November published by Harper Impluse and is set to get you in the Christmas mood!

“Warm and romantic, every page is sprinkled with Christmas magic”  Cressida McLaughlin, author of The Canal Boat Café

So as it’s nearly Christmas and we are looking for the perfect Christmas read to snuggle up by the fire with I asked Katey exactly how to write the perfect Christmas book…..


This Christmas she’ll give her heart to someone special…

As Christmas approaches Joe Smith knows he should be celebrating with friends and family, making the most of the season. But for Joe, Christmas only holds painful memories. Ones he can feel crushing his heart, a reminder of a time he can never forget.

Clara O’Connell loves Christmas. For her it is the most magical time of the year. And she’s determined to make Joe love it too! She knows he’s hurting, but maybe she can help to ease his pain. Her plan: One special gift every day to remind Joe just how loved he is.

But the clock is ticking. Will the Christmas magic wear off at midnight or will Clara’s Christmas countdown be the perfect gift to heal Joe’s broken heart? And in doing so, maybe she will get a gift in return…Joe’s love for Christmas and forever…?


The Perfect Christmas Book

When the wonderful Chelley invited me to guest on her blog I was thrilled – she’s such a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry, known and loved by everyone.  However, when I asked what she wanted me to talk about and her reply was ‘how to write the perfect Christmas novel’ I could feel the imposter syndrome creeping in.  I’m very proud of my festive release Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown, but perfect?  There’s a lot of weight in that word, but I am going to share how I wrote this book, step by step.

Have a ton of ideas, reject most of them, hone the good one

As I was reaching the end of drafting my second novel, The Café in Fir Tree Park, my editor Charlotte Ledger and I were in discussions about what to do next.  I was really keen to write a festive novel and tentatively suggested my ideas.  Our favourite was based around an office secret santa, but Charlotte felt the office setting had the potential to be too dry.  I wanted charity to be a big theme in this book and after dismissing the idea of setting the book in a foodbank (although there is a scene at a foodbank in the novel) ran with it centring around a fictional Manchester youth club.

Make notes on anything and everything Christmassy

Throughout October 2016 I carried my notebook everywhere and made a ridiculous amount of notes.  I asked friends what their favourite aspects of Christmas were, queried Twitter and Facebook on what they thought were ‘musts’ for a festive read (tinsel, mulled wine and Santa, apparently) and thought about how my characters were going to develop over the course of the novel.  I also came up with a title at this point, which was eventually tweaked only slightly (when the male protagonist’s name changed).

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November and encourages writers to draft 50,000 words in 30 days.  I still had 20,000 words left to write to complete The Café in Fir Tree Park but, knowing that it would be easier to write a Christmas novel in winter, I surrounded myself with mince pies and decided to also write the first half of the Christmas book.  By the end of the month I had ‘won NaNo’ and had the first 30,000 words of what would become Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown.

Finish the book!

This stage took a while.  I had a much-needed month away from writing over Christmas and struggled to get back into the routine of writing afterwards, especially after the tree came down and Christmas was over for the majority of people.  Thankfully I’m friends with other writers who were in the same predicament and so our fictional Christmases continued in parallel.  I finally finished the first draft in May 2017.

Edit, edit, and edit some more

Personally, I always find structural edits (big changes to plot, the order events take place in, adding in subplots or additional characters) difficult.  One change often starts off a chain and it felt at times as though the novel I’d worked so hard to build was falling like one of those tracks of dominos where you touch one and the whole lot fall down.  However, I had the experience of knowing I could edit a book because I’d done it before (twice!) and knuckled down to get stuck into polishing my Christmas book.

Next came the line edits, where as well as working on editors suggestions I was keen to inject even more festive sparkle into the book.  I wanted it to be 100% Christmassy!  This is where I developed a lot of the outdoor scenes such as the one at the skating rink and at the Christmas market, to ensure I was encapsulating the magic of the traditions of Christmas in my words.

Finally, in August 2017, it was time for the proofread – the end was in sight!  I must admit that by now I was all Christmassed out – I challenge even the most avid Christmas fanatic to feel in the mood for listening to Shakin’ Stevens in temperatures nearing 30 degrees.

Let it go

As Elsa so wisely said in the Disney hit ‘Frozen’, there comes a time where you just have to let it go.  For authors, that time is publication day, when ownership is no longer yours and your publishers, but your readers.

When Joe and Clara’s Christmas Countdown was released in October I was nervous – would people like the idea enough to buy it?  Thankfully, people have and I’ve been fortunate that bloggers, authors and readers have shared their kind words about the book online.

So that’s my experience of writing a Christmas book – it was jolly hard work, but worth every tinsel-filled moment.  If what you’re dreaming of this Christmas is writing a festive novel I’d encourage you to go for it, and sprinkle glitter on every single page.

You can buy a copy of Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown here or from your local bookshop


About Katey Lovell

Katey Lovell is the author of three commercial women’s fiction novels published by Harper Collins’ imprint HarperImpulse. Her novels are about people overcoming everyday challenges with the support of their friends, family and local community. She has also penned a series of coffee-break romances (also published by HarperImpulse) and a hot romance for Tirgearr’s City Nights series.

Originally from South Wales, Katey now lives in Sheffield with her husband and son. When she’s not writing she’ll most likely be found watching musicals, enjoying live music or reading anything and everything she can lay her hands on.

You can follow Katey on twitter – @Katey5678


A huge thank you to Katey for such a fab guest post and for sharing so much about her writing process.

Have you read Joe & Clara’s Christmas Countdown?  What did you think?  Do you read Christmas reads in the lead up to Christmas?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

 

Guest Post – Ho Ho Ho Reads by Andrew @PewterWolf


I am super honoured to have the brilliant Andrew, one of my fave bloggers and human beings, on the blog today with a Christmassy post to get us all in the Christmas mood.

Andrew was one of the first bloggers I got to know when I started out blogging and he never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Andrew blogs over at thepewterwolf.blogspot.com where he reviews books within (although not exclusively) the YA and New Adult age ranges. Andrew also writes fun, random blog posts (also known as SMILE) and music-themed blog posts. And I love the fact that he states on his blog that the “blog is not only a book reviewing site but a “Smile Blog””.  Andrew is basically all the awesomes so please do go check his blog and his twitter @PewterWolf out!

So today Andrew is sharing some of the books that are on his festive reading list….

*hands over to Andrew*


Ho Ho Ho Reads

This blog post came out of something completely un-Christmas related. I was emailing Michelle over Point Horror. I never read Point Horror growing up, hence my questions. But as we chatted, we got onto Christmas and I started wondering what books I was going to read over the festival season. I don’t normally make plans over what I want to read – am more a mood reader – but I realised that I do have a small list in my head of books I do want to read over Christmas, New Year and throughout December. So, I thought I would show you some of my list…

To Michelle, thank you for inspiring this post. Now, let’s get the Christmas music on and chat books!

OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon

I haven’t watched the TV show. I tried to watch the first episode but always get 15/20 minutes in and get bored so don’t continue. I know I should, but I think the book might be more my thing. It has elements that I know will hold my attention and keep me reading, even though it’s over 850 pages long.

But, due to recent book events and real life events, this might have to be put on the back burner for a few weeks. Due to… wait for it…

THE BOOK OF DUST: LA BELLE SAVUAGE by Philip Pullman

I have been waiting for this book even since I finish The Amber Spyglass over 17 years ago. 17 YEARS! And I was/am so excited to read to read! I preordered this and the special Waterstones edition, I was that excited to read this!

But, real life got in the way. I read only 3 chapters over a space of a week due to work issues, so I decided to put this on hold and save it for when I had time to sit down and immerse myself in this world. And Christmas seems like the perfect time!

THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

Confession time: I’ve had an Advance Reader Copy since just before last Christmas. When I found out I had it, I squealed so loudly, my cat wake up and give me one of the dirtiest looks in memory. So, why haven’t I read it? The main reason is because I’ve been so excited for this book since I heard it was going to get published in the UK. So, when I finally got a copy, I have mentally hyped this book up so much that I was terrified it wasn’t going to live up to it. So I have been waiting… and waiting… and waiting… it’s only now that I feel ready to go near this. I just hope it’s as awesome as I want it to be…

THE LAST MRS PARRISH by Liv Constantine

I don’t read as many thrillers as I would like, but this sounds like something I would be gripped by. A twisty thriller would be perfect reading on these dark, long nights.

THE WITCH’S TEARS by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

I read the first book in the trilogy, Witch’s Kiss, earlier this year. And while there were some problems with it, I had a whale of a time reading it. And with how the first book ended and with the third and final book coming out early next year (March, I think? February?), I want to return to see what’s going to happen to these characters? Plus, with this cover, I feel that winter is the perfect time to read this…


A huge thank you to Andrew for such a fab guest post and here to reading some fab reads over Christmas!

Don’t forget to check Andrew out over on his blog www.thepewterwolf.blogspot.co.uk or on twitter @PewterWolf

What’s on your Christmas TBR?  Do you rad Christmas reads in the lead up to Christmas or books you have been excited about all year and not got around to?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Tales Post – British Books Challenge 2018 – Sign Up #BritishBooksChallenge18


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I’m so very excited to announce that in 2018 I will be continuing to host the British Books Challenge!

*gives a big fan fare and dances in excitement*

#BritishBooksChallenge18 

I have participated in this particular reading challenge for the past three years and I’m so excited to now be hosting it again for a second year running.  I am hugely passionate about reading and supporting British authors and I really do hope that you will join me in this very special reading challenge starting in the new year.

Find my year in Books and Challenges 2015 here

Or my year in Books and Challenges 2016 here

And also my year in Books and Challenges 2017 here

I was super excited to be have been asked to host again and I have to say a massive thank you first to Becky for originally creating the challenge, to Sarah for hosting from 2013-2014, Michelle for hosting in 2015 and getting me signed up to my first ever bookish challenge and to Kirsty for hosting it firstly in 2012 and then in 2016 . All four of these amazing women have put in an incredible amount of work towards promoting British authors and I hope to continue their good work. Special thanks to Michelle for letting me pretty much cut and paste most of her sign up pages!

And as always a massive thank you to Rhys from Thirst For Fiction for designing the British Books Challenge blog button!

I have some exciting plans for the challenge throughout the year all of which are detailed below…..

Including a special prize draw prize for signing up to the challenge!


So what is the British Books Challenge?

The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running here on Tales Of Yesterday between 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2018 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.

This challenge is available for all bloggers and/or booktubers who review books on their blogs, YouTube channels or readers who review on other websites such as Goodreads.

If you sign up for the challenge you will be aiming to read at least 12 books by British authors (which works out to one a month).

For every book you review each month you will get an entry into the draw to win a monthly prize pack (assuming that you’ve left all appropriate links on the monthly link page!). Therefore the more you review the more chances you have at winning that month’s prize(s).

Also see the Author Of The Month and Debut Of The Month section for ways to gain extra entries each month!

Please note that entries must have been read and reviewed in the month that you are entering your link/entry.

There may also be some kind of special prize draw at the end of the year for those challenge participants who have gone to the most effort over the year and reviewing 50 or more books by British authors.

As prize packs are mainly being sponsored by British publishers I’m afraid that some of the prizes will only be available for UK participants but I hope that international bloggers will still take part.  Please be aware that you will need to provide me with an address which may sometimes be passed on to a publicist in order for your prize to be sent out.

In terms of what books would count towards the challenge – the books can be in print or out. Old or new titles. They can be from any genre and for any age range. In previous years Becky, Michelle and Kirsty focused mostly on young adult books on their respective blogs, and Sarah’s reviews for the challenge spanned many genres and age ranges. The primary focus on Tales Of Yesterday will be on YA and MG with a few adult books in the mix too, however feel free to read any books by British authors and have those books count towards the challenge: children’s books, middle grade, young adult, new adult, or adult fiction or non-fiction – whatever you feel like reading by any British Authors.

If you are looking for any suggestions of UKYA or MG Authors/books then check out the below with thanks to Jim Dean, Debbie, Cora, Caroni Clarke and Kirsty….

YA and MG releases 2018

UKYA 2018

UKYA LGBTQIA+

Feminist UKYA

Historical UKYA

#BritishBooksChallenge18 


Monthly Prize Packs

I am absolutely delighted to tell you I have had a huge amount of support and encouragement in the planning of this challenge from UK publishers and authors.

These wonderful publishers / authors have agreed to provide British bookish goodies for prize packs which can be won by the challenge entrants.

Watch out for the link up post on the 1st of each month for details of what you could win.

#BritishBooksChallenge18 

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.


Author Of The Month

Each month I will be featuring an Author Of The Month!

This will normally be an author I am a huge fan of and who’s books I think you would love.

I will announce each author of the month on the monthly sign up posts on the 1st of every month.

I will be aiming to spotlight the author and their books on the post too along with any reviews and a special posts I have featured on my blog by the author themselves.

And that’s not all…..

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.

#BritishBooksChallenge18 

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.


Debut Of The Month

Each month I will also be featuring a Debut Of The Month!

This will normally be a book I will be reading myself throughout that month that I am hugely excited about!

I will announce each debut of the month on the monthly sign up posts on the 1st of every month.

I will be aiming to spotlight the author too along with any reviews and a special posts I have featured on my blog by the author themselves.

And that’s not all…..

If you read, review and link up a review of the book chosen as debut of the month (in the same month that the book is debut of the month) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw.  So a double entry for one review!

#BritishBooksChallenge18

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.


About Signing Up

This year I have decided to run another sign up giveaway!  So signing up for the challenge will gain you entry into this special prize draw (more details about this prize below).

To sign up for the challenge…..

Write a blog post or page on your blog or upload a video to your YouTube channel linking back to this one.

In that post/page/video compile a list of titles by British authors that you hope to read and review during 2018. If you are not yet sure, just add one or two and update as and when you read titles with hyperlinks to your review.  A bit like I’ve done here

Insert the British Books Challenge button onto your blog’s side bar. To do this save the button onto your computer, then go to add gadget on your sidebar to put the picture on your blog adding a hyperlink to it of the url address for this post. For Youtubers, please include the graphic within your video.

Fill out the Mr.Linky form below. Do make sure the link you add goes directly to your sign up post and has your blog/channel name as the title. Links to anything other than sign up posts will be deleted and only people who have created a sign up post will be eligible to win the monthly prize pack each month and be entered for a chance to win the sign up prize. This is very important step!

And finally, as you review the books on your blog/YT channel, update the monthly review pages, which will go live on the 1st of every month, with a link to your review. Every link up you add will be an entry into that month’s prize pack (please note that some of the prizes may be donated by publishers only willing to send to the UK).

Links to any books by Author Of The Month or links to reviews for Debut Of The Month will be eligible for a double entry into the prize draw within the month that they are Author Of The Month / Debut Of The Month only.

#BritishBooksChallenge18 


It’s Good To Talk!

Share your reviews on social media using the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18 

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.

As well as following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18 I 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 2018!

Or keep up to date on my challenge page for 2018 here


FAQ

What books would you suggest that I read for the British Books challenge?

I will be writing many a blog post throughout 2018 to give you any and all recommendations and of course we will have our Author Of The Month and Debut Of The Month to get you started.

Here is a link to my own British Books Challenge 2018 page which will detail which books I have been reading and reviewing for the challenge or any books I am hoping to read in 2018 by British authors.

I will also let you know on each monthly sign up page which books I have been reading and enjoying the month before.

I also have various guest posts, Q&A’s, spotlight posts and of course reviews throughout my blog so do check them out through the index here

If you’re on Twitter, following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18  –  a place where people can also share what they are reading by British Authors.

You can always have a look through other participant’s review links on the monthly link up pages once the challenge gets started. I’ll add links to each month’s post below.

If you love UKYA check out this fab spreadsheet by Debbie and Jim that give you lists of UKYA books – here

These links by no means include the only books that count towards the challenge but hopefully they’ll help you get started.

Don’t forget to post links to your reviews each month for your chance to win prizes:

How did the British Books Challenge come about?

The BBC is a reading challenge that was created by Becky from The Bookette in 2011 as a way to encourage people to read more books by British authors. The challenge was taken over by Kirsty at The Overflowing Library for 2012 and again this year in 2016, was hosted by Sarah at Feeling Fictional between 2013 to 2014, Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies throughout 2015 and was hosted by me, Chelley at Tales Of Yesterday in 2017 and again this year in 2018.

I post reviews on more than one blog. Can they count towards my challenge total?

Yes.

I am an international entrant and sometimes I do not have time to write my reviews in English. Can I write them in my native language?

Of course. It would be helpful if there was a little summary in English so that I can comment but as long as you make sure the book’s title is translated somewhere on your post then it is fine. I’m delighted that international bloggers are going to help promote British authors.

Do you need to read the book and review the book in the same month?

Yes.  The idea of the British Books Challenge is to read 12 books by British Authors throughout the year (this is only 1 per month but please feel free to read and review more) so reading a book and reviewing in the same month gains you a valid entry into the prize draw.

It doesn’t matter if it is a re-read of a book you haven’t reviewed before as long as the review is created and posted within the same month you are linking up for.

Any archive reviews from previous years / months will not be eligible for the monthly prize draw.

Can I count books that I have already counted on other challenges in 2018?

I don’t see why not.

I’ve read and reviewed a book by the Author Of The Month or the Debut Of The Month how do I gain my extra entry?

You still link up your review as normal on the monthly link up page and I will do the rest.  Any linked reviews to either author of the month or debut of the month will gain an extra entry into the prize draw at the end of the month.

Do Irish authors count towards my challenge total?

No. Ireland is not part of the UK. The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Authors who live in any of these four locations can count towards the challenge.

How about authors who were say born in America (insert any other country here) but are currently living in the UK?

Yes, we are using the following criteria to decide whether an author can count towards the challenge:

  • Authors who were born in the UK, live in the UK and are published in the UK
  • Authors who were born overseas but are CURRENTLY living in the UK and his/her books were/are being published in the UK first
  • Authors who were born in the UK are currently living overseas but his/her books are being published in the UK first

Top examples of authors born in other countries but who currently reside and are published in the UK and count as being ‘British authors’ include Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff, Moira Young, Laura Lam, CJ Daugherty etc.  We love these authors and we claim them as our own!

I know it can be tricky to work out if X author counts towards this challenge so if you are not sure about a particular author, please do contact me and I’ll see what I can do to help!

I do not have a blog but I would love to take part. Is there a way that I can take part?

If you have an account on Goodreads or another book review website you may still join the challenge. Sign up by linking to your profile page and make sure you link directly to your reviews each month to be eligible to win the monthly prize packs.

How will I know if the monthly prize pack is International?

I will always specify clearly the terms and conditions of winning the prize pack on the monthly link up page.

As the prize packs are often kindly donated and sent to the winners by the publishers it is up to the publisher if the giveaway is international or not.

When will I know if I have won a prize pack and what do I do if I win?

The winner of the monthly prize pack will be notified on the link up post for the following months British Books Challenge.

The winner will then have 14 days to contact me via email with their address and must be happy for me to pass this onto the relevant publisher.

Once your prize is received please let me know so I can tick you off my list and feel free to share any pictures of your prize on social media using the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18

It’s not January anymore and I’ve only just seen this challenge – can I still sign up?

Yes!  Of Course!  The more the merrier!  Follow the steps above for a sign up post then start linking your reviews in the monthly link up post for the month you are starting the challenge.

I am a publicist promoting a book by a British author (or indeed a British author). Can I promote my book via the British Books Challenge?

Yes. If you would like to donate prizes to the monthly prize packs that would be fantastic. Please contact me via email to discuss this further.  I really do appreciate the generosity of publishers and authors who have donated books as prizes in the past and I hope that this continues in the future!

I have a question that you haven’t answered here. How can I contact you?

The best way to contact me is by email, I will reply to all emails as quickly as possible but sometimes life gets in the way so please bear with me if it takes me a couple of days to respond.

I do have a twitter account ( @ChelleyToy ) and always love to hear all of your thoughts/comments regarding the #BritishBooksChallenge18 and any books you are reading for the challenge there, however, for queries regarding the challenge email is still your best bet towards hearing back from me.


#BritishBooksChallenge18

Looking for the monthly link up posts?  Click on the months below

Please note these will be updated as each link post goes live on the 1st of every month

 February 

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December


#BritishBooksChallenge18 Sign Up

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I am treating one lucky sign up winner to start off their New Year in the best bookish way possible with a Waterstones gift card of £15!

To enter –

Write a blog post or page on your blog or upload a video to your YouTube channel linking back to this one.

In that post/page/video compile a list of titles by British authors that you hope to read and review during 2018. If you are not yet sure, just add one or two and update as and when you read titles with hyperlinks to your review.  A bit like I’ve done here

Insert the British Books Challenge button onto your blog’s side bar. To do this save the button onto your computer, then go to add gadget on your sidebar to put the picture on your blog adding a hyperlink to it of the url address for this post. For Youtubers, please include the graphic within your video.

Fill out the Mr.Linky form below. Do make sure the link you add goes directly to your sign up post and has your blog/channel name as the title. Links to anything other than sign up posts will be deleted and only people who have created a sign up post will be eligible to win the monthly prize pack each month and be entered for a chance to win the sign up prize. This is very important step!

UK/IRE entrants only for the prize draw but anyone can still sign up for the challenge.

Ends 31st December 2017

Please note that the winner will need to provide me with an address to send their prize too and will need to be signed up to the challenge on or before the 31st December 2017 to be eligible to win.


Thanks for signing up for the British Books Challenge 2018!

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Name – Please add your name and blog / YouTube channel e.g Chelley Toy – Tales Of Yesterday

URL – Please add a direct link to your British Books Challenge sign up post here




Tales Post – British Books Challenge – December 2017


Welcome to the British Books Challenge 2017 – December!

#BritishBooksChallenge17

We are wrapping up warm and getting cosy this month with lots of fab books as we get ready for Christmas and a brand new year!  Where has the year gone!

I can’t wait to count up how many books by British Authors we have read for the whole year!  You have all done so amazing!  Thank you for being on board with this challenge and so eager whilst also bearing with me over the past couple of months!  I heart you all very much!

So far we have a grand total of 561 reviews of books by British Authors in total since we all started in January 2017!

*group hugs*

And thank you so much for always embracing our author and debut of the month as well as all of the other amazing books you all read!

Thank you all!

Lets wrap up warm and jump into December!


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 December rolling!


November’s prize pack contained the following book which will be sent out by myself….

All valid reviews and links by British Authors that were linked up on the November linky here were eligible to be entered to win the November prize pack. With people who read any books by our Author Of The Month and/or our Debut of the month earning extra entries.

But there can only be one winner!

And the winner is…….

 Bibliobeth

Is Monogamy Dead by Rosie Wilby

Congratulations!

Please email me your address so that I can arrange for your prize to be sent out to you!


 

Decembers prize pack will be sent out by myself and contains the following book ……

**Please note this is the Zoella Book Club Edition**

“This book will make you cry, think, and then cry some more.”
–Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything

From the New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not comes an explosive examination of grief, mental illness, and the devastating consequences of refusing to let go of the past.

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

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 December! 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.

Please Remember…..

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 December 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 #BritishBooksChallenge17 hashtag – 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 winner was……

 Rachel Verna’s Strangeness

Devotion by Ros Barber


And the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for December is…….

Miranda Dickinson

I adore Miranda and her books so much !  I’m so happy that she is our December Author Of The Month!

Don’t Forget…..

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.

#BritishBooksChallenge17

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 December is…….

Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan

 

Technically the hardback was released in January 2017, but the paperwork has been released this December and as I’ve heard so many lovely things about this book.  I am so hugely excited about this book and am so happy that it is our Debut Of The Month!

Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up a review of our debut of the month (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

#BritishBooksChallenge17

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 following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge17 I 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!

Lastly thank you to everyone who has joined in this challenge this year!  Its been so wonderful to have you all on board.  And if you want to continue I’m running #BritishBooksChallenge18 so do feel free to sign up here!

Happy Christmas and here’s to a fab new year!

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




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