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Review – Bella Broomstick by Lou Kuenzler

Bella Broomstick

I have recently read this fun, magical MG read by Lou Kuenzler, Bella Broomstick which was released on the 7th January 2016 and I loved it and I am so over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!

This book had me smiling so much.  It was adorable!

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share my thoughts on the book and post a review!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Lou Kuenzler for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.

Bella Broomstick

This delightful new series, full of doodle illustrations and themes of friendship and fitting in, will have young readers bewitched from the very first page! Bella Broomstick is a hopeless witch. So hopeless that nasty Aunt Hemlock is sending her to live in Person World – with the warning that she must never do magic again! But when Bella finds a kitten in trouble, a spell is the only way to rescue it. What is Bella to do? For where there is magic, trouble is never far away!

Publisher – Scholastic UK

Published – 7th January 2016

Pages – 198 pages

Format – Paperback and E-book

Category – MG Fantasy

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful people at Scholastic as part of the blog tour organised by Faye Rogers.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Scholastic for sending this to me to read and to Faye for organising!

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

TASK ONE – Using your blog, your typing fingers and your so called sense of humour Chelley Toy write a review of Bella Broomstick for the wonderful Bella Broomstick Blog Tour!

“Belladonna Broomstick, you are the most hopeless young witch in the whole of the Magic Realm!”

Wow!  Right you crazy crocodiles!  I was so very excited to be asked to be a part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of this magical book.  I threw out my smart busyness person clothes and handybag and donned my witches outfit and hat in celebration and with a Swish Swish Swish I was transported into the world of the wonderful Bella Broomstick!


As the quote above suggests Bella Broomstick is the most hopeless witch in the whole of the magic realm.  She can talk to animals, but has no warts and can do no magic or when she does it goes horribly wrong (poor Dr Rattlebone).  She has even failed her entrance exam at Creepy Castle School three times!  Poor Bella Broomstick is as useless as a leaky cauldron and she is living a miserable existence with her Aunt Hemlock in the magic realm.

Bella’s awful Aunt Hemlock who has seven warts that wobble like nettle jelly, picks her teeth with chicken bones and smells of rotten eggs, garlic and cheesy feet (ewwwwww) along with her horrible leather headed bully of a chameleon Wane decide that Bella has to go and live in the person world where she is banned from doing magic!

“I’ll dip you in porridge and gobble you up like that spider”

Scuttling Scorpions!  Aunt Hemlock is terrifying how could she do that to poor Bella and….well who would eat a poor little spider!

*snatches spider off the wall and swallows whole*


Anyway moving swiftly on….. *coughs*

I read this book in virtually one sitting!  And that wasn’t through fear of Aunt Hemlock getting hold of me and turning me into a guinea pig, handy bag or worse….maggot mush stew!  No!  Not at all!  Straight from the offset this book was a joy to read.  Full of magic, friendships, family and a fabulous feathery flamingo pen!  Lou Kuenzler introduces you to two different worlds, the magic realm and the person world whilst fun, danger and the Sellwell Department Store Catalogue awaits.

Bella is adorable and full of fun, compassion and humour and I loved her as a character.  Really routing for her to be happy and loved.  I loved reading about Bella experiencing the person world for the first time.  Seeing a toilet flush, having a bath, visiting the Sellwell Department Store and being happy!

I used to love the Worst Witch books when I was younger and reading Bella Broomstick has made me want to revisit them again!

Whilst I loved all of the characters in this book my favourite was the little kitten that Bella rescues, Rascal!  Awwwwww I loved him so much!

The illustrations by Kyan Cheng in the book are just perfect and act as a source of humour also!  I especially loved the picture of the chameleon Wane as a Lizard-shaped salt shaker and a handybag…oh how I chuckled at his expense!

I hope Aunt Hemlock didn’t hear me say this!

*legs shake like a bowl of newt-eye trifle*

This is the first book in a brand new series and jiggling jellyfish it got off to an amazing start!  Bella learns that she may not need magic and being a hopeless witch isn’t the end of the world.  It also embraces love and family and belonging and I think this is a beautiful message to send out to many children and adults that will read this book.

I can’t wait to read about more Bella Broomstick adventures and hopes that Aunt Hemlock doesn’t join the person world any time soon!  She has some rather disgusting habits and….

Oh fizzing ferrets!  She heard me that time!  Aunt Hemlock is here again!  Oh spinning spiders!  She wants to take me for a ride on her broomstick….last time she did that I felt a bit Broom-sick!

He he he laughing ladybirds!  I’m here all week!



Oh pickled porcupines!  She’s turned me into a guinea pig hasn’t she!

Now all I can think about is how I want to eat a carrot!

I award this book 4 out of 5 Tales Of Yesterday Books!


Bella Broomstick

You can buy Bella Bromstick (Bella Broomstick #1) here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

About Lou Kuenzler

Lou Kuenzler

Lou Kuenzler likes to write stories which make children laugh.

Her popular SHRINKING VIOLET books are funny, action-packed adventures about a little girl who suddenly shrinks …. Think Mrs Pepperpot with a 21st century twist!

And then Lou’s next series PRINCESS DISGRACE introduces the clumsiest princess ever in a comic romp through life at a posh princess academy – unicorns, dragons and japes galore!

For slightly younger readers, Lou’s AESOP’S AWESOME RYHMES add a comic, rhyming twist to the classic moral tales.  

While JACK SPLAT: SUPERFLY PEST and JACK SPLAT: DOG’S DINNER tell the fly-on-the-wall adventures of … well, of a fly!

You can find out more about Lou on her website here

Or why not follow Lou on Twitter using @loukuenzler

Or find Lou’s Goodreads page here

You can buy Bella Bromstick (Bella Broomstick #1) here

Blog Tour

Catch up of follow the rest of this wonderful blog tour by checking out the stops below


Monday 4th January

 Linda’s Book Bag

La Chouett

 Tuesday 5th January

 Book Lover Jo

Mum Friendly


 Wednesday 6th January

 Live Otherwise


 Thursday 7th January

 The Arts Shelf

Over 40 and a Mummy to One

 Friday 8th January

 Tales of Yesterday

Beautiful Things

 Saturday 9th January

 The Books Bandit

My Make Up Life

 Sunday 10th January

 Kirstyes & Bibliobeth

You can find a Q&A with Lou Kuenzler here

Have you read Bella Broomstick?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading


PHBC – Freeze Tag by Caroline B Cooney




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

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

Lets find out…


 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Freeze Tag by Caroline B Cooney


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

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th December 2015

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

We also have a fantastic guest post from the lovely author and Point Horror fan Sophie Cleverly – HERE!

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

The Tagline

Cold hands…evil heart

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

In a little town there is a road called Dark Fern Lane and four children play a game called Freeze Tag.

Awwwww Freeze Tag I remember that game!  It was fun!

Not the way Lannie plays it….she plays it for realises!  With one touch she can freeze you so you can feel cold passing through your heart and snow piling on top of your eyes and basically going into another world……DEATH!

Ooookkkkaaaayyyy….Lannie sounds like she would be good to play Christmas board games with!

Wrong!  After making local hunk West promise to like her best (seriously) a few years later when Meggie-Mogs and West are getting it on Lannie gently reminds everyone of the promise that was made that must not be broken!

Oh No!  What will happen if Meggie-Mogs and West try to have a sneaky kiss!?  No one can stand in the way of true love!

One touch by Lannie and they will take Freeze Tag to a whole new meaning and be frozen FOREVER!

And Lannie never lets anything get in the way of her and her man!

The Girl

Meghan Moore – little old Meggie-Mogs!  I actually quite liked the long thick haired, popular only child who, in my opinion, did not put her flute and piccolo playing to much use in this book.  Bless her…after adoring West all of her life after the prologue it made me smile that she finally got her man…well that’s until Lannie threatens to freeze her….to death!

She did at least try and fight for her man and I loved the relationship between her and her best friend Tuesday (West’s sister).

I also loved that special moment after being absent for half of the book that Meggie-Mogs shares a tender moment with her Mom with snuggles on the bed.  It was actually quite emotional.  At a point where Meghan had no one because of ice fingered Lannie.  Of course this was soon to be dashed by her Mom telling her to listen to her Dad and do as she is told and go outside to the girl who wants to kill her…but you know as long as Meggie-Mogs Dad is happy!  *tuts*

Given all this I loved how Megham thought the Trevor family are how families should be, but then maybe realises that she is possibly wrong after all.

The Love Interest

I cannot make my mind up if I like West Trevor the boy next door or not.  Sometimes I did.  Sometimes I didn’t.  Apparently his name sounds like a street or a town in Ireland (?), he owns all the best cassettes and cd’s, loves doing the dishes and calls all girls he doesn’t like babe?!?.  He is courteous, manages the football team, owns a Chevy that he can’t drive and has a long cross wide grin.

What’s not to love?

He was so loved up with Meghan, but then fear gripped him like an icicle and he was forced to dump Meghan and date Lannie through fear of his sister, Tuesday, becoming frozen by Lannie!

Sounds like an episode of Hollyoaks!

Hmmmmmm still can’t decide on him….


The baddie of the book gets a whole heading to herself….basically I’m scared she will freeze me to death if I didn’t!

Skinny as a popsicle stick, wispy and as pale as Kleenex with long thin fingers that will terrify you and freeze you if touched!

Where did she get her freezing power from?

Did she grow up to be Elsa?

I’m not gonna lie she was truly terrifying!  Creeping around unseen and unheard, always standing as close as a sweater to share your oxygen (?) and with the smile of ice and snow she sent shivers down my spine on every page!

The back story of her Mom and Dad and their love for cars especially Jaguars was tragically strange, but gave us a good reason why she had absent parent syndrome.  Well, other than the fact that she freezes her Step Father to death sitting in his car, freezes the family dog because she is jealous and kills her Mom in a car crash by freezing her!

And don’t forget those pale bleached in wash eyes and cobra hood eyelids!

She was actually pretty scary!

The Gang

Tuesday, West’s little sister and Brown, West’s little brother make up the rest of the gang.  I didn’t make many notes on them, but I loved them both especially Brown.

And I can’t not mention the lovable feeder Mrs Trevor!  She was awesome!  She reminded me a bit of Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter!  Although I did feel a little let down that she feel for the it’s hard to park trick when West turned down driving her car and not realising that her son was being forced through fear of being frozen to date Lannie!

Oh also huge shout out to Z list character Valarie who whilst getting dating tips for West off his girlfiend Meghan so she could pretend to date him (who does that?!) calls Lannie a pale faced shrimpette from the zoo!  I hope off page Lannie froze her so she could never say such nasty things ever again!

Fashion Faux Pas

The only reference I picked up on was plaid wool pants and a dark sweater…..that’s not that bad is it?


Dialogue Disasters

This is Caz Coo!  The Queen!  I found is quite hard to find dialogue disasters so as always here’s a few that made me giggle!

“Lannies eyes, as pale as though they has been bleached in the wash”


“What was the other side of Lannie made of?!”

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,  bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens…..oh wait!

“Probably no other family on earth with children named West, Tuesday and Brown”

I feel that Kim Kardashian and Chris Martin may have been fans of Point Horror and adopted this policy!

“Her heavy eyelids lifted like cobra heads”


“The sun fell like a wet plate out of a dishwashers hands”

This is my new excuse when I drop a plate and it smashes *angelic grin*

“Lannie tightened like a bow and arrow”


“She whispered so hotly she could have lit a match with her breath”

We all feel like this after a super hot curry *passes breath mint*

“She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just take West and walk off with him.  Sort of like shoplifting a lipstick”

I always wondered what shoplifting a lipstick would feel like!

“The only thing that moved was Lannies hand, stroking here, touching there…”


“Gag me with a spoon”

Erm before or after the stroking and touching 😉

“He took her to pizza hut Meghan!”

Dum Dum Dummmmmm!!!  Oh no!  How could he!

“I’m probably the only girl in America who has to defrost her boyfriend”

*passes hair dryer*

Body Count

Hmmmmmm…..body count off screen so to speak, but they still totally count!

Two human frozen bodies and one dog *sniffles*

Oh actually was their reference to an unknown school student in hospital too?

Is it scary?

I’m actually going to admit I found this quite scary.  I mean not in a scary jump out of your seat gruesome scary but definitely creepy scary!

The prologue when all the characters are younger captures youth and sets up the tone of the book and you really do feel every word as if it’s ice and cold and freezing throughout!  The prologue helped build a chilling back story and makes us fearful of Lannie from the offset!

I genuinely found myself feeling fearful when loved up Meghan and West take the mickey out of Lannie at the start of the book when the story jumps to the characters as teenagers.  You know it is not going to end well!

And that scene in West’s Chevy at night when Lannie is sitting there in the dark and brushes her fingers against them!  O.M.G!

Did the best friend do it?

There’s no mystery to this Point Horror.  It’s a straight up creepy Point Horror and you know who the baddie is from the off set.

Some Mild Peril?

I’m sure being frozen to death by someone’s touch is mild peril enough!

Is it any good?

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  The queen of Point Horror does it again!  Another brilliant story of good versus evil and very much, in my opinion, like The Perfume a different tone from other Point Horror’s in the series almost like this was never meant to be an actual Point Horror.

Caz Coo is basically just a genius!

Although….the end?  Not sure how I feel about the end?  I presume all Lannie really wanted was to be loved and have friends……yep….that explains freezing people to death!

Final Thought

RIP Buttery Popcorn!  Cheese popcorn is all the rage now!

Although buttery popcorn did make an appearance to help the characters think towards the end of the book….fear not Billy!

Also who knew fresh snow and maple syrup make instant candy!  Mind Blown!

Over to you!

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

  • The ending?  Did we like?  Not Like?
  • What did Lannie and West really get up to for three hours in his car?!
  • Who would you promise to like best to save your friend from getting frozen to death?
  • Cheese Popcorn, Buttery Popcorn or our knew Point Horror treat of Snow Candy?

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

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th January 2016 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 17th December 2015!

And the winner was……


Don’t forget to check out the fab  Point Horror guest post with author Sophie Cleverly – here

Also don’t forget the lovely Anne Finnis has said we can put some Point Horror related questions to her which she is going to answer over the Christmas break!  Do you have a question for Anne?  Let me know and I will include it in my Q&A with her which will go live next month!

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th December 2015!

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

Thanks for joining in….




Corey’s Corner – Review – Future Ratboy and the Attack of the Killer Robot Grannies by Jim Smith


Move over Spidey, get back in your cave Batman, and keep your glasses on Clark Kent, there’s a new superhero in town. FUTURE RATBOY.

When a bolt of lightning hits Colin Lampost (and his toy bird, Bird), he is zapped millions of years into the future! Life will never be the same again. Bird has been brought to life as Not Bird and Brian’s DNA is fused with a rat giving him superkeel powers. Future Ratboy is born!

But the future is not a safe place to be and there are killer robot grannies on the rampage! Will the dynamic duo survive the attack and save the world?

Join Future Ratboy and Not Bird on their first adventure to find out! 

Publisher – Jelly Pie/Egmont

Date Published – 30th July 2015

Pages – 256 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – MG / Children’s

Source –

We were send a copy of this book by the publisher Jelly Pie / Egmont in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way.  Thank you for sending us this book to read and review.

**Please note this review is as spoiler free as possible**

Hi, my name is Corey, I am ten and today I am doing a review on Future Ratboy!!!

Do you remember Barry Loser watches and has a favourite TV programme?  If so what was it called?

Future Ratboy!!!

This book is about a kid called Colin Lamppost and one stormy night he jumped into a bin which had a TV, a rat and his cuddly teddy, bird, but then the lightening suddenly hit the bin!!!  He got transported millions of years into the future!!!  He then finds he has to fight two killer robot grannies and Mr X as they are stealing body parts from other people!

The book is told from Future Ratboy’s (Colin Lamppost’s) point of view.

The characters are: Future Ratboy (Colin Lamppost), Not Bird (Future Ratboy’s sidekick), Twoface (has two faces), Splorg (a blue sluggish alien) and Jamjar ( who has five arms).

My favourite part was when he got zapped in the bin!!!

My favourite character was not Bird because he always says ‘NOT!’!

The funny part that made me laugh was when Future Ratboy screamed ‘RAT!’ and pointed at himself!!! The whole book made me laugh.

I’ve not done anything like what the characters in Future Ratboy do, but I wish I could throw popcorn in the air like Colin Lamppost as that is what he always wanted to do.

There’s nothing that needs to be improved in this book but there should be a sequel!!!

I would recommend this book to all my friends at school because it was that good.

If you like comedy, drama, sci fi and noses (Barry Loser) then you will love this book!



About Jim Smith


After graduating with a first class degree in advertising, graphic design and illustration in 1997, Jim Smith was spotted by the owner of a small coffee shop chain and brought in to fill the walls of their flagship store with his paintings.

It was a three month contract; seventeen years later, Jim is head of design at Puccino’s Worldwide Ltd, now an international coffee shop franchise with stores in the UK, Europe and Egypt.

In the meantime he’s illustrated kids’ food packaging for M&S, drawn cartoons on the sides of PJ smoothies, created in-store graphics for Orange phone stores, designed book covers and branded a New York based Iced Tea company.

In 2010, Jim launched the hugely successful Waldo Pancake range of stationery and gift products, now sold in the UK, Australia, Singapore, Europe and the US.

‘I am not a Loser’ by Barry Loser, the first of a series of children’s books ‘spellchecked’ by Jim, was published in 2012, having already sold rights to nine countries. The sequel, ‘I am Still Not a Loser’ was the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2013 and declared the funniest book for children aged seven to fourteen.

Jim has now written six Barry Loser books, and numerous short stories. ‘Future Ratboy’, a spin-off series of books based on Barry’s favourite TV star, debuts in July 2015.

Find out more on Jim’s website – here

Follow Jim on twitter using @BarryLoser

You can buy Future Ratboy or Barry Loser books here

Happy Reading



Review – This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


I have recently read this wonderful book,  This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, and I have to say it gave me ALL the feels and left me quite emotionally scarred for a long time after finishing it!

When signing up to this tour I was fully warned in advance by the lovely Luna’s Little Library who organised the #TIWIWUKTour….

“On a personal note, while I was reading THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS there was a lot of FEELS.  So when you begin TIWIE I want you to know I’m here for you. (via twitter (in non-spoiler form) or DMs/email).  Also as a tour participant you have the Luna-Helpline.  Basically I’m available for you to discuss all things TIWIE and provide comfort for the FEELS with virtual hugs, gifs and chocolate!”

Fair to say I was warned in advance don’t you agree?

A huge thank you to Luna’s Little Library and Marieke Nijkamp for having me on this wonderful tour and letting me be the first stop on the tour to read it after receiving it from you both at #YALC.

IMG_5566You can find a Q&A with Marieke here


10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Publisher – Sourcebooks Fire

Published – 5th January 2015

Pages – 281 Pages

Format – Paperback and E-Book

Category – YA Contemporary

Source – I was lent a copy of this book for the #TIWIEUKTour by Luna’s Little Library and Marieke Nijkamp  – thank you both!

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

This book made my heart beat with every page and eyes sting with tears!  I was literally like this following tweet throughout the whole book….


This Is Where It Ends tackles a subject that for me reflects real life events that have occurred in the world and although this book is a work of fiction, whilst reading, these real life events and the pain people must have suffered really do niggle at your emotions and along with the brilliant writing style it really intensified my feelings whilst reading this book.

This Is Where It Ends is set in a school called Opportunity and told over the course of 54 minutes from four different view points, Claire, Tomas, Autumn and Sylv, broken down into chapters.  When the doors to the auditorium do not open after the principals morning speech most of the students are locked in…and then the shooting starts.  Tyler has returned to Opportunity for revenge and he doesn’t let anybody get in his way!  These 54 minutes turn into a race for survival.

As the tagline on this book says…

“Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun”

From the offset within the first few pages I felt emotionally connected to all of the four characters telling the story.  All of the characters voices were strong and unique and Marieke tells their stories with such heartfelt emotion I was fully captivated and emotionally invested and wanted to reach out and protect them so much!

This being said there were some key moments for me that had me crying real tears which involved secondary characters….this shows how powerful this book really is!

Another thing I loved about this book is the sense of what is happening in the real world during these 54 minutes.  At the end of every chapter is a page of tweets or an excerpt from a blog all in real time along with the book giving a point of view of what people are saying or feeling  in the outside world.  Some being students who are not in school on this particular day etc and some of these tweets, just within in that restricted text, are pure emotion and heartbreak rolled into one page!  Marieke broke my heart with one particular set of tweets!

For me personally I adored Tomas and his friend Fareed, who without giving to much away, prove themselves to be unselfish, forward thinking and brave.  That being said all of the characters show their bravery in one way or another throughout the book and it made me admire them as characters even more than I already did.

I can honestly say I hated Tyler with a passion!  As a reader I did not feel any sympathy towards him and rightly so, but that is credit again to Marieke as she does not sugar coat any reasons why he is doing this or justify any justifiable reasons.

I loved the sense of friendships, family and community that push themselves to the forefront due to the situation and adored the input of flashback scenes of the characters within the writing that gradually unravel as the book and the minutes tick along expanding our picture of these wonderful characters lives and what they have experienced and been through prior to this life changing event.

On a side note also I wanted to give a huge cheer to Marieke for the diversity in this book which is the norm in this book.  The characters are just who they are and it was lovely to read.

I also have a favourite quote from the book which just touched me ……

“If you’re afraid think of tomorrow, because tomorrow will be a new day.  Tomorrow there’ll be new chances.  Tomorrow I will be home”

I don’t want to go into anymore through fear of spoiling this brilliant book…I just highly recommend that you pick up a copy upon it’s release along with a pack of tissues and some chocolate for the journey.

A huge congratulations to Marieke with this fab debut YA ….although a hard painful read full of emotion it is written brilliantly and with care.  A brilliant book from start to finish!

*blows nose into tissue*

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


You can buy This Is Where It End here (not released until 5th January 2016)

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

You can find my Q&A with Marieke here

 About Marieke Nijkamp


Marieke is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, and diversity advocate. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, and wants to grow up to be a time traveller.

Marieke is proud to be the founder of DiversifYA and VP for We Need Diverse Books™

In the midnight hours of the day, Marieke writes stories full of hope and heartbreak. Her debut YA novel THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS will be out from Sourcebooks Fire in 2016.

Find out more about Marieke on her website – http://www.mariekenijkamp.com/

Or you can follow Marieke on twitter using @mariekeyn

Check out every reaction happening on the tour on this fab storify session here or use the hashtag #TIWIEUKTour on twitter!

Or in this brilliant Storify by the lovely Luna …

Also the lovely Luna’s review of This Is Where It Ends is so worth a read too – check it out here

For the tour we have also been asked to write a little message in the book once we have finished reading it!  Here’s what I wrote….


Have you read This Is Where It Ends?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go pre-order a copy?  Are you on the #TIWIEUKTour?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading….*passes tissues*


Review – The It Girl by Katy Birchall

untitledEverybody wants to be a famous It Girl. Don’t they?

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

1) Must keep my two lovely new (and only) school friends by not doing anything in usual manner of socially inept dork and outcast.

2) Train Dog (my labrador) to high-five. This is probably the most ambitious life goal on this list.

3) Do not set the school’s Deputy Queen Bee mean girl’s hair on fire (again).

4) Work out whether 2) and 3) constitute being socially inept or outcastish.

5) Go to Africa and give out rice.

6) To hide in a cupboard FOR LIFE with Dog now Dad is engaged to one of the most famous actresses EVER, the paparazzi want to splash my face all over the papers and everyone in school (and The World) is soon to discover the level of my social ineptitude.

7) Is rice a bit done now? Maybe I can give out chocolate in Africa too. I do like chocolate. Must work out how to do it from the cupboard…

Publisher – Egmont

Date Published – 7th May 2015

Pages – 352 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, Contemporary

Source –

I was sent a proof copy of this book by the publishers, Egmont for review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you to Alice and Egmont for sending me this fab book!

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

Okay so I thought I would try something a little different for this review *gulps*

Whilst reading and loving The It Girl there were several exchanges between Anna and her best friend Jess via email with often hilarious conversations.

You can read an extract from The It Girl here which features examples of the emails between Anna and Jess.

So I thought I would email my lovely friend Sofia from www.thereadingfangirl.wordpress.com and tell her all about this book and have a little catch up!

Here’s what happened….

From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Fab Book Alert!

Hi Sofia!

So Kevin and Corey are out at cubs tonight so I have a peaceful few hours at home to myself so I thought I would pop you an email to see how you have been?  I’ve not seen you for ages!  Hope your doing okay and your exams have gone okay too!

What have you been reading lately, except for revision books of course.

Did I tell you about the book I’ve been reading! It’s called The It Girl by a fab debut author Katy Birchall!  The book starts with the main character Anna setting a girls hair on fire with a Bunsen burner!?  I laughed that loud whilst reading it in the garden that my cats looked at me with embarrassment …. oh and also disgust at the sound I made! It seemed to scare all of the pigeons away that they were licking their lips at and eyeing up to pounce on so I am now officially the pigeons saviour!  I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not?

Anyway…went slightly a bit of topic there!  You really must pick up a copy of The It Girl!  It has lots of very funny moments!  I’m sure you will love it!  It’s about friendship too and the friendship between Anna and Jess is THE BEST!

I liked the message of the book as well….friendship and family and the fact that you don’t need to have everything to have everything if that makes any sense at all!

And before you ask…..no it wasn’t my mobile phone that started playing Jar Of Hearts on my iPod in the middle of an author event! *looks guilty*  The thing wouldn’t turn off!  I almost chucked it in my glass of orange juice to drown the embarrassment away!

Speak soon

Love, me xxx


From: Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Pigeon Saviour!

Hey Michelle!

 So sorry for the late reply! As soon as my exams finished, I just read a lot! I’ve been well, no problems on my end! How about you? It has been way too long.

 That book sounds hilarious! Bunsen burners are a deadly weapon!  I’ve had a few near misses at school myself!

You saved all of the pigeons! Don’t you think that’s a weird word? Pigeons. Pig-eons. Sorry that’s just my brain going at it being weird again.

 Oh god that was you? I thought it was my mum so I was hiding in embarrassment. I’m glad it was you and not my mum! That would have been embarrassing for me. Not that it was embarassing for you…. well it kinda was..I’m so glad I wasn’t sitting next to you!

 Hopefully we can speak soon,

Tell me more about this book!

Love from the slightly weird teenager you somehow put up with  xx


From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Friend?

And there was me thinking you were my friend!  lol

It really was kind of embarrassing ….literally everyone was looking…I’m sure I went the colour of a beetroot!

Talking about beetroots!  Remind me never to sit in the sun whilst reading again!  Chelley + sun = lobster….I took a selfie but I’m too ashamed to show it *presses delete quickly*

So anyway….more about The It Girl!  It was so so funny!   It’s about a girl called Anna who loves nothing more than spending weekends reading comics and watching csi and probably eating milk bottle sweets (yummy).  She is a bit of a geek I guess and fancies the popular guy in school!  One day her Dad brings his new girlfriend to their house and it turns out she’s a famous Oscar winning actress and her daughter is a famous It Girl!  When Anna’s Dad announces they are getting engaged this catapults Anna into the spotlight and she has to learn to become an It Girl herself!  And it turns out Anna and being an It Girl don’t mix!

I totally loved Anna!  I feel like you actually see her grow by the time the book is finished…and you also see her hanging upside down at one embarrassing point in the book in front of EVERYONE!

It’s told in the form of a mixture of emails, voicemails (often to Anna’s Dad when shes watched a horror film and is in the house alone!) and the story from Anna’s point of view.  This actually makes the book flow really well!

Awwwww and guess what!   Anna has a dog who is called Dog….he’s scared of salad spoons and loves bacon and is just adorable!  I loved the relationship between Anna and Dog!  At one point she holds Dog up like that scene in the Lion King….do you know which bit I mean!  Poor Dog!  Anna also wants to train Dog to give a hi five!  🙂

I laughed out loud so much at this book!  I feel I have many Anna moments in my life and often consider if Katie Birchall based her on my life lol *checks for Katy Birchall security cameras in my house!*

There’s also an hilarious scene between Anna and her Dad when his new girlfriend is coming around to the house for the first time…it involves Anna making a jump for the stairs and her Dad grabbing her by the legs to keep her down stairs!  It’s so funny!

Anna is also always hiding in a cupboard with Dog!

Love,me xxx


From: Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Marvel!

Hi Michelle!

Reading in the sun never works out in anyone’s favour! I’ve heard a horror story about someone who fell asleep whilst revising in the sun and when she woke up, she could barely move! Though, I would pay a hefty amount of money to see that selfie.

 That book sounds absolutely amazing. Anna seems like the kind of girl that I want to be! Is there a love story? Romance always makes a book even better!

You’ve now convinced me to read it but should I really be buying more books when I brought ten books a week ago? *hides in shame*

 I know the Lion King scene you mean!  How funny!  Dogs are adorable and that dog sounds hilarious! I must admit I’m more of a cat person myself. We have 4 cats; Thor, Loki, Odin and Black Widow(we’re Marvel fans in this household!).

 I love it when you read a book and you can relate to the main character! If you have Anna moments in your life, then I definitely must do!


Sofia xx


From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: 10 BOOKS!

Hi Sofia!

Really?  Wow that must have been some boring revision session to fall asleep for that long!  Are you trying to confess this was you?  If so yep!  I would love to see that selfie!  lol

10 books!  Was there any books left in the book shop?!  lol  What did you buy?

Oh yay!  So happy!  You will love The It Girl so much!  It does have romance in it too!  There’s a lovely boy called Connor!  Anna and Connor bond in detention over Anna’s list of things to achieve in her life and superheros!  I think you would like Connor a lot considering the names of your cats!  That’s SO cool!  Do you have any pictures?

Also the author Katy Birchall is a HUGE Marvel fan!  I think you and Katy would get on really well!  I met her at an event at Electric Monkey earlier in the year and she was very lovely!  I feel she is also a bit like Anna herself….she accidently confessed that a spider bit her eye!

What are some of your #AnnaMoments?

Love, me xxx


From: Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Only 10 Books

Hey Michelle,

I know right! I can’t imagine how bored she must have been! She must have been revising Biology because that makes me tired.

And no!  It wasn’t me!  Cheeky!

 I raided the Rick Riordan section of the bookshop and bought all 5 books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series plus the Heroes of Olympus series. I must have caused them to run out of his books… *hides in shame*

 Ahh romance. I crave romance and that romance in The It Girl sounds so darn adorable!

My brother was behind naming all the cats and he hasn’t even seen Thor! I used to have a load of pictures of them but then my phone crashed and all of my photos were deleted. It was such an emotional time! All of my photos from my events disappeared including the ones from UKYA Extravaganza! Which reminds me, we have no photos of us and that is a complete and utter shame!

I’m so clumsy and silly so my whole life is probably an #Annamoment.

Love from,

Sofia 😛


From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Lost photos!

Oh wow!  There’s no shame in raiding the Rick Riordan section of the book shop!  You go girl!

Oh No!   Poor photos!  I hope you manage to get them back!  And we don’t have a photo together?!  How did this happen…or not happen as the case may be!  This must be rectified next time we meet up!

So if you do grab a copy of The It Girl let me know what you think!  There’s going to be a book 2!  I cannot wait!

Speak soon

*runs away from pigeons calling me Mommy!*

Love, me xx


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

12You can buy The It Girl here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

You can find out more about The It Girl, watch a video and read a fab extract here !

Also check out this fab guest post by Katy Birchall about 10 things she has learnt since becoming an author – here !

Or find out more about The It Girl 3 in this exclusive interview with, It Girl, Anna Huntley here


A fab guest post on How To Avoid Sports Day here

Find out what we got up to at the Electric Monkey Blogger Day here

Check out this fab video of Katy talking about The It Girl!

A huge thank you to Sofia also for participating in this different kind of review! xx

About Katy Birchall


Katy Birchall is the debut author of The It Girl series. She also works at Country Life magazine as their Deputy Features Editor. Katy won the 24/7 Theatre Festival Award in 2011 for Most Promising New Comedy Writer with her very serious play about a ninja monkey at a dinner party. Her four pet Labradors are the loves of her life, she is mildly obsessed with Jane Austen and one day she hopes to wake up as an elf in The Lord of the Rings. She grew up in Essex and currently lives in Brixton.

You can follow Katy Birchall on twitter using – @KatyBirchall

A huge thank you to Sofia also for participating in this different kind of review! xx

Go give Sofia a follow on twitter – @SofiaSTRF and check out her fab blog to – www.thereadingfangirl.wordpress.com

Are you looking forward to reading The It Girl?  Have you enjoyed hearing a little more about it?  Have you ever found your self in some embarrassing moments?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

 Happy laughing at Anna!


Review – Darkmere by Helen Maslin



A castle. A curse. One dangerous holiday … Kate and her friends are spending the summer at Darkmere Castle in Devon which she thinks will be a perfect opportunity for her to get together with Leo. But instead, she s drawn into the dark story of an nineteenth-century girl who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house … and whose curse now hangs over them all. 

Publisher – Chicken House

Date Published – 6th August 2015

Pages – 344 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, Gothic Romance

Source –

I was sent a proof copy of this book by the publishers, Chicken House for review.  I was also very lucky and honoured to be sent a finished copy of this book by the wonderful author Helen Maslin.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you to both Chicken House and Helen for sending this to me to read!

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

I have been looking forward to this book for a very very VERY long time!

Since blogging I have met some wonderful lovely genuine people.  One of those people is the lovely Helen Maslin author of this wonderful book!  After bonding over twitter and meeting up in real life I can honestly say that I feel honoured and very proud to know Helen and her family and have her in both my life and my families life.  I think Helen will agree that we became instant friends and I feel like I have known Helen all my life!  I even get away with calling her a cheeky nickname 😉

I feel very proud to be reviewing this book on my blog and my friendship with Helen by no means affects my views and thoughts on the book in anyway.  I hope my words speak for themselves about how wonderful this book really is!

I LOVED this book from start to finish!  It pulled me in and wrapped me around it’s pages and did not let me go until the very end leaving me craving more!

The story of Darkmere is told in a dual narrative.  One in present day, Kate, and one in the year 1825, Elinor.  Both voices are completely unique and distinctive and as the story develops these two very different lives and voices intertwine to reveal the secrets and curse of Darkmere!

Kate is asked to spend the summer at her school crush Leo’s recently inherited castle…Darkmere castle with his confident and wealthy friends.  Fed up of feeling like the outsider she agrees and what pursues is a summer they will all never forget.  The sea, the beach, no mobile signal, a dusty empty castle in the middle of no where,strange noises, secret doors and stairs…need I say anymore!  With a looming well known curse over any male heir to the castle things get a little creepy!  Kate gradually discovers the secrets of Darkmere as well as learning more about Leo and his friends.

Elinor’s life in 1825 is very different, although she feels very much like Kate being an outsider, but this is more to do with her sister Anna’s beauty and confidence, but in admiration rather than jealousy.  After a tragic accident and turning down her life long friend Nick’s proposal Elinor’s family require her to marry the wealthy St Cloud and move to his newly built castle Darkmere.  Feeling very cut off from the world and lonely, kind hearted Elinor starts discovering that things are not as they seem at Darkmere and St Cloud may be a very naughty man indeed!

Whilst Kate’s story is set over the course of a summer Elinor’s story spans a few life changing years, but both stories intertwine chapter by chapter until the heart stopping, fast paced finale!

I feel that my brief summary really does not do this book and the story Helen Maslin has created any justice at all!  Darkmere has the perfect mix of tension, mystery and humour all mixed with brilliant story telling, writing and fantastic characters.  Even with twists and turns throughout the way!

The group of friends in the present day story are a perfect mix and interacted so well together and I feel Helen Maslin perfectly portrays a teenage group of friends really really well!  There’s Leo the popular cocky boy who can be very selfish and self absorbed at times.  Then there’s Beano, Hat-man Dan and Jackson!  The three of them fire jokes at each other left right and centre and it’s really funny to read.  I laughed out loud a number of times especially getting to know these characters when they first arrive at Darkmere.  There’s one particular umbrella joke that had me in stitches, but the comedy element flows very naturally from the characters.  They actually feel like friends you have known for a while rather than a few pages and all voices are familiar and realistic.  Then there’s the two girls. Kate who is trying to impress Leo, but cannot resist reading the books in the library or discovering more about the castles history at the museum in town and Lucie…..bless her.  I felt a little sorry for her at times.  I have to admit Jackson and Dan were my faves 😉

In 1825 we get to meet Elinor’s childhood friend the lovely Nick *swoons and drifts off into a Nick filled daydream*….oh he is just THE BEST!  I adored him so much! *goes glazy eyed*

1825 also brings us St Cloud!  There’s always a baddy in every story right?  Well he made my skin crawl with a passion!  His whole presence every time he was on the page made me so fearful for Elinor and what was going to happen!  He just reminded me of Alec from Tess Of The D’Urbervilles!  That smarmy niceness around people he wants to impress and then that horrible nasty streak lying underneath and coming out behind closed doors!  He is a very bad man!

The 1825 story in Darkmere really did bring those feelings back of reading Tess Of The D’Urbervilles and I can honestly say I felt that much love for Nick as I did for Angel St Clare in Tess!  I think this shows the strength and amazingness of Helen Maslin’s writing to stir such a feeling and emotion that I have felt about another book (and a favourite) and showing how perfect the historical side of the story telling was.

There are aspects of romance throughout the book and in both Kate and Elinor’s stories with them both experiencing different aspects of love and hurt.  As well as brilliant character building Helen builds up nail biting tension.  There were times I was on the edge of my seat flicking page after page as quickly as possible with my heart pounding in my chest!  I was terrified!  I shamefully admit I have a fear of Ghost Trains at the fair or walking through a haunted house (especially with live actors inside causing me to cry – this is another rather emabarrasing story!) and at times Darkmere thrust me right into this scared feeling and sometimes late at night I did strain my hearing a little more to see if I really heard that creak on my hallway landing!  But brave as ever I never once sent my husband down to check the noises…nope not me *innocent but guilty face* and I never dreamt of ghosts *cries for mommy*!

It’s so hard to pick a favourite part of this book as I honestly really loved every page.  For me I loved reading and unravelling the life Elinor lives and I also loved all the secret passageways and secrets Kate discovers throughout her time at Darkmere.

Darkmere castle, thanks to Helen’s description sounds AMAZING!  The descriptions of the fully working castle in 1825 were beautiful and the emptiness of the castle in present day of what was once rooms filled with hundreds of items is described so vividly that you can imagine yourself standing in the middle of the great hall and looking around and admiring it’s beauty.  That being said….there’s no way I would spend a night in Darkmere on my own!  NO.  WAY! *shivers*

Like ghost stories?  Like romance and mystery?  Like great friendships and castles?  Like dual narratives past and present?  Then I cannot recommend this book enough!

A brilliant chilling, romantic, heart thumping debut with two distinctive voices and stories that intertwine perfectly!  I cannot wait to see what Helen Maslin comes up with next!  Just hurry up Helen I need more!!

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


On a personal note – I am so so proud of my friend Red!  Have belief that you are amazing and the most loveliest person!  You truly deserve all of the praise coming your way!

You can buy Darkmere by Helen Maslin here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

Read a fab extract from Darkmere over on the Chicken House website here

Or an exclusive extract on Tales here

I also love this top 5 castles post on Chicken House that includes Darkmere – here !

Check out a spotlight piece I did for another book where Helen tells me her bright place – here

Also check out this deleted scene and inspiration for Darkmere by Helen Maslin here

About Helen Maslin Helen-Maslin-SquaredHelen Maslin lives in Cheltenham with her husband and two young sons. She has studied English, history and art history, which remain her chief interests. She also runs an art club at her children’s primary school.

Helen’s art club is fun but always very messy. Her favourite things are brightly-coloured hair, Peter Lorre’s voice, the smell of new books, Roy Lichtenstein’s art, niceness and cake.  Darkmere is her debut novel.

Follow Helen on Twitter – @HelenMaslin

Also check out Helen’s fab blog here!

Have you read Darkmere?  What did you think?  Has this review intrigued you enough into buying a copy?  Do you have any fab ghost stories or visited any haunted castles?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading….*hears a creak!*


Review – The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson


Caraboo Blog Tour Poster v5

The 2nd July 2015 marks the release day of the historical YA story The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson published by Corgi Childrens.  I am very excited to have been sent a proof copy of this book and been asked to be part of the brilliant blog tour by the lovely Ming ( @raremediumwelldone ).

I am over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book and for my stop on the tour I will be reviewing The Curious Tales Of The Lady Caraboo!

Thank you to both Ming and Catherine for having me on this wonderful tour.


Out of the blue arrives an exotic young woman from a foreign land. Fearless and strong ‘Princess’ Caraboo rises above the suspicions of the wealthy family who take her in. But who is the real Caraboo? In a world where it seems everyone is playing a role, couls she be an ordinary girl with a tragic past? Is she a confidence trickster? Or is she the princess everyone wants her to be? Whoever she is, she will steal your heart…

Publisher – Corgi Children’s

Date Published – 2nd July 2015

Pages – 288 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, Historical

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful Ming for this blog tour.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Ming for sending this to me to read!

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

I have really really wanted to read some historical fiction this year and as of yet I had not got around to it so when I was offered the chance to read this book I jumped and waved and shouted me me me and got very excited indeed!  I have heard so many good things about Catherine Johnson’s books that I was intrigued and this story seemed really interesting and curious….and since reading it I have to say I loved it!

The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo had me hooked right from the beginning.  It is set in the year 1819 and tells the tale of a wealthy family, the Worralls, who find a lady from a foreign land, Mary Willcox, in distress and decide to take her into their home, help her and want to find out more about her.  She tells them her name is Caraboo and they come to the conclusion that she is a Princess!  Caraboo has good intentions to only stay a couple of days, but as the Worralls become more curious about this mystery lady who speaks a different language and wears different clothes Caraboo becomes more drawn into their world and their family.

From the offset this book had me captivated!  The pages basically turned themselves as I was transported back into the past, loved the story and loved all of the characters.  The writing just flowed on each page and I feel that is a credit to Catherine’s writing style completely.  It never let me go until I finished the book!

I enjoyed all of the characters in the book.  The wealthy family of the Worralls were all so unique in their own ways and it really felt like Caraboo touched the heart of each and everyone of them.  Cassandra, who made me roll my eyes a few times I have to admit, was both adorable and frustrating, but it completely fit her character as the daughter of the rich family.  Nothing really phased her and she seemed to go with the flow, but could be very selfish when it comes to love and dresses!  I still liked her though and her acceptance and caring of Caraboo was so lovely to read.  Okay maybe I have to admit I was lusting over her love interest Will, the innkeepers son, throughout most of the book as he was rather…..lets say distracting *swoons*  You would be good enough for me any day Will!  Then you have Fred, Cassandra’s brother who whilst I couldn’t stand him at the start of the book with his views about women and how he treated them (the 1800’s were obviously a time when rules were deemed very different for men and women on how to behave), but grew on me completely throughout the book …stick with him though he’s definately worth it!

I think one of my favourite characters was Mrs Worrall.  She is completely intrigued by Caraboo which in a way is so lovely to read and see as she wants to understand this lady who is from a different way of life and wants to know all about her and where she has come from although, some of her methods were a little scary to be honest, but in the 1800 these were obviously standard practise including using electric thearpy and the shapes of peoples heads etc.  I felt she was quite proud of Caraboo and even comissioned her portrait to be painted by an artist, but upon reflection maybe saw her as a little experment maybe, but she did have a caring side towards Caraboo.

No book would be complete without a bad guy and poor Caraboo suffers at the hands of a villian quite partial to a drink or two.

Caraboo was just so lovely.  I loved her so much.  She seized the opportunity of being Caraboo rather than Mary Willcox and became very much a free spirit.  I loved the way she spent time on the roof of the house that became her spot and I laughed out loud at one point when she jumps through a window to make an entrance when she’s looking for Cassandra.  Her intentions are good and she seemed to have a good heart and care about the Worrall family.  I could really get the sense of Caraboo’s feelings and how her path in life had not been an easy one.  She melted my heart a little I have to admit.

I loved the relationship that develops between Caraboo and Fred it was so lovely to read.  Fred is initially worried that Caraboo will tarnish the family name and has a feeling she is fooling the family and Caraboo initially, like me, dislikes Fred and often wants to push Fred off the roof and into horse manure which made me chuckle a lot.  One of my favourite parts of the book was when Caraboo and Fred go hunting and experiencing the raw outdoors together.  Whilst Caraboo seems natural with this, Fred most defiantely was not and I just loved the scene as some of the scenarios like Fred falling over into the ash had me chuckling.

Catherine writes a brilliant author note in the back of the book explaining some of the research she did whilst writing this book.  You get a huge sense of the passion and intrigue Catherine had with this story and this curious tale and whilst she stuck to as many facts as possible throughout her story she provides the reader with some historical facts about Princess Caraboo giving reference to some books that are in fact mentioned here when I looked up the Princess Caraboo on google as like Catherine her story and history have intrigued me to do my own mini research.

I read this book super quick as I was that engrossed in the story.  I loved every single page of it!  I will be rushing out to but more of Catherine’s books as if this is anything to go by what am I missing out on?! 🙂

I highly recomend this book to everyone even if you have no interest in historical fiction.  It is a tale of love and kindness and about a lady who is as curious as the books title suggests.

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


You can buy this book, The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo, here

Or why not add it to your to read list on Goodreads here

About Catherine Johnson


Catherine has written lots of books including the award winning Sawbones, and Arctic Hero chosen by Booktrust for Booked up in 2010. She has two grown up children and is a Londoner who lives by the sea. She also writes for film and TV.

Check out Catherine’s website here

Or why not follow her on twitter using @CatWrote

Also check out Catherine’s other books here

The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo Blog Tour

Don’t forget you can catch up of the rest of the Blog Tour for this brilliant book by checking out the stops below!

Caraboo Blog Tour Poster v5

Have you read The Curious Tale Of The Lady Caraboo or any of Catherine Johnsons other books?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  Have you ever pretended to be someone else maybe?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading….and falling in love with this book!




Review – Jessica Cole Model Spy: Catwalk Criminal by Sarah Sky


The 4th June 2015 marked the release day of the third book in the Jessica Cole Model Spy Series – Catwalk Criminal by author Sarah Sky published by Scholastic. I am very excited to have been sent a copy of this book so I could read and review as part of the blog tour to celebrate it’s release!

I have previously read the first in the series Jessica Cole Model Spy: Code Red Lipstick (you can find my review here ) and the second Jessica Cole Model Spy: Fashion Assassin (you can find my review here ) and thoroughly enjoyed them so I was so happy and excited for this next instalment!

Thank you to both Scholastic and Faye Rogers for having me on this wonderful tour.

Ps – There’s also an awesome tour giveaway where you could win a set of the trilogy….I highly recommend you enter at the bottom of this post 🙂


Models, spies and lipstick gadgets in this fast-paced teen series. Jessica Cole has been recruited to Westwood, MI6’s secret division of supermodel spies. Her first official mission seems simple at first, until it turns into the biggest cyber-attack ever known, threatening the security of the whole country. Then it emerges there is a traitor in the midst at MI6 – and suddenly Jessica herself is being accused. With no one believing her innocence, and the country on the verge of chaos, Jessica has no choice but to take matters of national security into her own hands and catch the culprit – fresh from the catwalk.

Publisher – Scholastic

Date Published – 4th June 2015

Pages – 320 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, Contemporary / Crime YA 

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful  Faye Rogers and Scholastic .  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you both for sending this to me to read!

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

Wow!  Super spy Jessica Cole is back with a bang in this third instalment of this brilliant series and I loved every page of it!

This book kicks off six months after the end of the second book, Fashion Assassin, where we join Jessica in an action packed opening in the Shard in London!  Following completing training she is now a full member of Westwood (a secret agency of models who work for MI6) and we join her on her first mission!

Her first mission does not go to plan and puts Jessica in danger and then there’s a cyber attack on MI6 HQ causing mayhem around London….. could there be a mole inside the Westwood camp that wants rid of Jessica?!  What pursues is a race against time to stop a group called The Collective who are working on behalf of the mysterious Liberty Crossing causing mayhem and putting MI6 agents life in danger!

With many twist and turns and action it was impossible for me to put this book down!  Just when I thought I had it sussed Sarah Sky throws another twist or a curve ball to really make you keep guessing what’s going to happen right up till the very end!

As well as being a super spy Jessica has also joined this top secret wing of MI6, Westwood, to find out the truth about her Mom’s death!  I love how this story line has carried through all three books and I was routing for Jessica all along to discover the truth….okay, okay I wanted to know the truth …the pages flew whilst I tried to find out!

The other two books have been set in different countries ie Paris, Monaco, but Catwalk Criminal keeps the action close to home in London.  This, for me as a reader, gave this book a more homely feel.  Whilst I love reading stories set in different countries this just felt right and in a way gave Jessica more depth to her character as we got to see more of her home life, school life, MI6 HQ and personal life.  Which brings us onto a new character that was introduced in this book…..


Oh Zak!  The gorgeous Calvin Klein model! *daydreams*  He befriends Jessica and makes her boyfriend Jamie very jealous and her best friend Becky weak at the knees…..apparently he’s very good looking and I adored him!  We are also introduced to a fashion designer Ossa Cosway who Jessica exclusively models for….he is just how I imagine a fashion designer to be.  We also get our fix of model spy regulars Jessica’s Dad, Grandma and MI6 top bloke Nathan!

The struggles and strains of being a super spy / model / teenager really were evident in this instalment of the books where Jessica not only battling cyber threats also has to deal with hiding her life from her best friend and her boyfriend which causes Jessica numerous conflicts….I really felt for her as a character and I think this also cemented, for me, why the setting of London, Jessica’s home, was more fitting for the story.

Favourite parts of the book for me were the action scenes in a boarding school, prison and an old abandoned warehouse!  They were fast paced and had my heart racing!  There was also some funny parts that made me chuckle especially when because of the cyber attacks all the teachers at Jessica’s school end up being put on a website called OAPdating.com and all the pupils at the school are listed on eBay with a starting bid of 1p!  Genius and very funny!

I loved the nods to the previous books and characters like Kat from Fashion Assassin, Allegra Knight and I have to shamefully admit my tummy did a little flip when Margaret was mentioned!  I will say no more, but Sarah Sky does a fantastic job of summarising the first two books and giving the reader a little bit of background / reminder or previous events as well as letting us know what the likes of Kat or Margaret are up to now…..

As always there are super cool and awesome gadgets galore #squee !  My favourite gadgets this time around were Taser trainers!  Want!  A diamante key ring scanner!  Want!  Thermal imaging contact lenses!  Want!  And a lipstick that can cut electricity! *jumps up and down like Verruca Salt and shouts I WANT IT NOW!* 🙂  Such cool gadgets!!!

I have heard this may be the final Jessica Cole book……yep I know right?!  We want more!  *bats eyelids at Sarah Sky and Scholastic*….in all honesty this whole trilogy has been fantastic and I LOVE Sarah Sky’s writing style and stories so I am really excited for what is next to come from this brilliant UKYA writer….whatever it is I will be picking up a copy without a doubt!

I really would recommend this book and the whole trilogy to any one looking for an action packed adventure with a hint of mystery, humour and a kick ass heroine!

If ever I were in trouble I would call Jessica Cole….or if she’s not available definitely Sarah Sky who is a master of Karate and could do some serious damage! *gulps*

Right ….I’m now off to day dream some more about Zak *drools*

Don’t forget the giveaway down below!

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


You can buy this book, Jessica Cole Model Spy Catwalk Criminal, book three in the series here

Or why not add it to your to read list on good reads here

For a previous tour following the release of Fashion Assassin I did a spotlight feature which included some super facts about Jessica Cole!  You can check this out here.

Catch Sarah under pressure with quick fire questions at #UKYAExtravaganza – here

I also did a feature asking Sarah if music influenced Jessica Cole – here

Catch up on the rest of this fab series!

Code Red Lipstick

I read and loved the first in the series, Code Red Lipstick.  Check out my spoiler free review here

You can buy Code Red Lipstick here

Or add it on your to be read list on Goodreads here

Fashion Assassin2

Also the second book in the series, Fashion Assassin is brilliant!  You can check out my review here !

You can buy Fashion Assassin here

Or add it on your to be read list on Goodreads here

About The Author – Sarah Sky

sarah sky picture

Sarah Sky is the author of Scholastic’s Jessica Cole: Model Spy series with Code Red Lipstick and Fashion Assassin. Catwalk Criminal is published in June 2015.

Sarah is a freelance education journalist and lives in West London with her husband and two young children.

She grew up in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, and studied English at Nottingham University before gaining a post-graduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University.

She trained as a journalist at the Western Daily Press in Bristol. Her highlight was interviewing screen legend Charlton Heston and lowest point was being sneezed on by a cow at a fatstock competition.

Sarah worked as an education correspondent for a national newspaper before going freelance. She now divides her time between journalism and writing.

She loves reading, baking, table tennis and martial arts. She’s a green belt in kick-boxing and a brown with two white stripes at karate, currently training for black.

You can find out more about Sarah Sky and Jessica Cole by visiting her website – www.sarahsky.co.uk and on Goodreads here.

Or you can follow Sarah on twitter – @sarahsky23


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Catwalk Criminal Review Only Blog Tour

Want to checkout some more reviews and guest posts?  Visit the rest of the tour stops to see what everyone thought!


Monday 1st June

Ya Yeah Yeah

Sophie Reads YA

Tuesday 2nd June

Big Book Little Book

Wednesday 3rd June

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Thursday 4th June

Queen of Contemporary

Friday 5th June

Tales of Yesterday

Saturday 6th June

Creativity and Crazy

Sunday 7th June

Lauren’s Book Life






Have you read Catwalk Criminal or any of the Jessica Cole series?  What did you think?  Has this review made you want to go grab a copy?  Do you have any super cool gadgets I should know about?  I would love to here from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading….or maybe spying and you might be undercover!


Review – Panther by David Owen


The 7th May 2015 marked the release day of Panther by debut author David Owen published by Little Brown UK. I am very excited to have been sent a copy of this book which was arranged by David himself and the publishers.  I feel so honoured that I received this book as I loved it!

I featured David on my blog previously for #Countdownya where David answered some questions so honestly and openly that I was left amazed and proud of David and the answers he gave!  You can catch this post here

I am over the moon to have been asked by the Grace at the publishers to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book and for my stop on the tour I will be reviewing the brilliant Panther and I also have an awesome international giveaway!

I am also happy to be part of the tour today as it is Mental Health Awareness week…something I am hugely passionate about supporting!  You can find out more here where you can find advise and support for anyone who needs it whether you are suffering or know some one who is.

Thank you to both Grace at Little Brown UK and David Owen for having me on this wonderful tour.

Don’t forget about the giveaway at the bottom of the post!


Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he’s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?

Panther is a bold and emotionally powerful novel that deals candidly with the effects of depression on those who suffer from it, and those who suffer alongside them.

Publisher – Corsair

Date Published – 7th May 2015

Pages – 240 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, YA

Source –

I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful publishers Little Brown UK / Corsair and the author David Owen.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Corsair and David for sending this to me to read!

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

Panther is a raw, powerful read that tackles serious subjects mainly about depression and how depression is still widely misunderstood, the damage that it does, the effect it has on the sufferer and the people around them and the stigmas of depression.  In some ways a hard read, but in a good way. You feel the struggles of Derrick and his family and as a reader you feel so many emotions! It is truthful and honest and does not gloss over any aspect of depression and that’s what makes this book so very special and important. 

In Panther we get to meet Derrick who’s life seems to be going downhill since his Mom and Dad have split up, his sister was diagnosed with depression and has tried to kill herself.  Derrick has become overweight and humiliated at school by the school bullies where an unfortunate incident was filmed and posted on the internet, his best friend has stopped talking to him and his school crush, Hadley, does not seem to notice him.  He hears rumours of a Panther roaming the area and sets his sights on catching the Panther!  Derrick believes if he can catch the beast the downward spiral of himself and his family will cease!

The main character Derrick, for me was both relatable and caring all with a pinch of humour in his character which for me was perfect.  It’s a hard, to the point, raw book so to have some humour provided some light moments and made Derrick a character that you cared for and understand why he is doing what he is doing and invests so much in finding the Panther!  It made me laugh when Derrick is studying his naked reflection since putting on weight which is awful for him, but confesses that the school bullies are yet to decide on a proper name  for a fat boys breasts…..David Owen offers us the knew word of Chesticles!  Whilst this is humorous Derricks insecurities about his weight or about how he says things to his school crush Hadley are realistic and you feel every word and feeling he must be experiencing.

One thing I loved about the book was the way the relationship between Derrick and his sister Charlotte blossoms.  Derrick is intrigued by his sister Charlotte and her depression and wants to help, but in the beginning Derrick also holds some resentments towards her for what he classes as ruining their family and he struggles to understand her depression in the beginning.  It is the same visa versa, Derrick is the one who found and saved Charlotte when she tried to kill herself which happened before the book starts, but Charlotte learns to be thankful for this act of unconditional love for his sister although to begin with she cannot see this.  The relationship grows and it is touching to read.

Panther also shows the strain depression has on family and friends as well as the sufferer.  Derrick’s Mom was realistically portrayed in the fact that she cares about her children, her family and provides support and encouragement, but her worries and concerns for her daughter are portrayed exactly how I would feel if this was my child and you would do anything to protect them.  I felt her emotion and pain as much as I felt Derrick’s and Charlotte’s.

As the pages turned I found myself emotionally invested in the book, the characters and as the book progressed and aspects of Derrick and his families lives begin to unravel and reveal themselves to me as a reader I too held hope and wanted Derrick to catch his Panther in the hope that it would help!  With the allotments being the only place Derrick feels free and with the beast on the loose, roaming free I wanted to jump into the page and help Derrick catch that Panther myself!  I’m not gonna lie….this book made me shed emotional tears by the end, but this is down to it’s honesty and rawness of the story that has been written.

This book is a debut by David Owen and it is a credit to him completely!  I am in awe of his honesty, sensitivity and the powerful way his words hit home no matter how painful that may be!  In my opinion and from own personal experience this book is a honest interpretation of depression, its effects and it’s stigmas and I honestly believe and hope this book can help people feel less alone or help them through anything they may be going through.

I am excited to see what’s next from an amazing new author!  Really well done Mr Owen…..in my opinion you are a brave, honest and most of all amazing person!  Thank you for writing this book!  Panther is and will be one of my top ten books of 2015 and has left its mark on me long after finishing it!

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


You can buy this book here or why not order it in at your local bookshop!

You can check out David’s website here or why not follow him on twitter using @davidowenauthor !

You can check out the Q&A I did with David for #CountdownYa here

About David Owen


David Owen achieved a first class honours in BA Creative Writing and an MA Writing for Children at the University of Winchester, where he went on to teach on the BA Creative Writing course for three years. He is also an awards-shortlisted games journalist, with a particular interest in the applications for video games outside of entertainment, and he has written about games being used to treat depression, dyslexia and autism. David has been published as a poet in journals including Agenda and Seam. Panther is his first novel.


You could win a copy of the brilliant Panther by David Owen!


Yep!  One winner will be picked and the competition is open internationally!

Giveaway ends on the 23rd May 2015 and the winner will be announced on twitter!  And updated here 🙂

Please note that there is only 1 copy of the book up for grabs with 1 winner being announced.

Winners will need to provide their postal address to myself via DM or email for me to pass on to the publishers to send the book out and must be provided within one week after the announcement otherwise a new winner will be picked 🙂

Open internationally!

Good Luck!

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Blog Tour

Why not catch up or follow the rest of the Panther blog tour !

Blog tour banner(1)

Have you read Panther?  What did you think?  Has this review persuaded you to pick up a copy and read?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


Review – Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid

Lies Like Love Tour Banner2

I have recently read this wonderful book Lies Like Love by the always awesome Louisa Reid and adored it!  I am completely over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!  This book made my heart ache and its memory will definitely be staying with me for a long time to come!

For my stop on the blog tour I am going to share my thoughts on the book and post a review!

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers and Louisa Reid for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.

Don’t forget to check out the awesome giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Lies Like Love


‘There were a few problems . . . bullying . . . a fire . . .’


I think she’s verging on psychosis . . . now she’s lashing out.


She’s got no one else to fight for her.’ Sixteen year-old Audrey just wants to be normal. She’s trying to fit in. But what happens when the person closest to you suffocates you with their love? What happens then?

Publisher – Penguin

Published – 3rd July 2014

Pages – 457 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, YA Contemporary

Source – I was sent a copy of this book by the wonderful author Louisa Reid as part of the blog tour.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way and am delighted to write an honest review.  Thank you Louisa for sending this to me to read!

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

I have to be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book.  The blurb sounded mysterious and something I would enjoy, the cover being intriguing and beautiful and having met the author,Louisa Reid, a couple of times now and knowing she is always so lovely and awesome that all these things combined made me super excited to read this book!  What I didn’t expect was to be completely blown away by this book, its imagery, themes….each page hooked me in, making me turn the pages quickly and making me not want to put this book down!

Lies Like Loves tells the story of Audrey, her brother Peter, her Mum Lorraine and a boy called Leo.  Audrey has recently moved into the area and into a house called The Grange, but Audrey is not well suffering from depression and self harming and her Mum is trying to care for her and make her better.  Audrey is trying to take care of her little brother Peter whilst settling into a new school.  That’s where she meets Leo, who is living with his aunt Sue in a cottage not far from The Grange.  But with Audrey’s Mum wanting to protect and care for her daughter will Audrey ever be free to make friends, grow and love?  Will she ever be able to free herself from The Thing that is holding her back and making her unwell?

I can honestly say that my little summary above probably cannot do this book justice!  Louisa Reid writes so beautifully it reads like a fountain pen flowing from the page!  The descriptions and imagery of Audrey’s world she is living in is both beautifully written and horrifyingly suffocating even more so as the book progresses.

Mental health issues are tackled sensitively and honestly in this book, depression and self harm.  Bullying plays a part also and highlights the stigmas that people face with regards to mental health issues.  But Louisa Reid also explores Love and its many different aspects and forms.  The good and the bad.  The butterflies and the storms!  The love of a partner and being loved back and the feelings that love may bring.  The love of a sibling, unconditional and protective.  The love of a mother and tells the story of a relationship between mother and daughter….and Louisa Reid creates a memorable mother in Lorraine, and not in a good way! *shivers*

My feelings for Audrey’s mother Lorraine changed a lot throughout the book….at points I thought I had it all wrong and then at other points I was shocked and disturbed!  You will have to read the book to truly understand these feelings, but just…..no words!

The relationship that builds between Audrey and Leo….my heart aches!

One of my favourite parts of the book was when Leo takes Audrey to the fair and then later on into London.  My heart raced with them and I could feel their love growing page after page!  I could feel how free Audrey felt when she was with Leo and as I reader I yearned for Audrey to be happy and like she felt in these moments throughout the rest of the book!  There’s a moment when at the fair they go on the Waltzers and I could almost feel Audrey’s happiness and all her troubles being spun away!

I also adored Peter, Audrey’s younger brother and her unselfish determination to protect him at any length or cost!  Their relationship was one of the best brother and sister relationships I’ve ever read.  I loved them as much as I loved Laureth and Benjamin’s relationship in Marcus Sedgwick’s She Is Not Invisible!

There are a lot of references to Shakespeare in Lies Like Love and it fitted in perfectly.  Audrey and Leo’s relationship was very much similar to Romeo and Juliet and I would guess that Louisa Reid has a huge passion for Shakespeare as I could feel her admiration through her words.  I may be very wrong here though!  🙂

I have so many feelings for this book and whilst reading this book!  I think I covered the whole spectrum of feelings in one book!  Even thinking about it now makes my heart ache in both sorrow and joy….a real emotional rollercoaster!

What an achievement this book is!  Why have I not read it before now!  I will be racing out to by Louisa’s other book Black Heart Blue asap and I’m sure I will love that as much as Lies Like Love.  I cannot wait to find out what’s next from Louisa!  Up there with the best of our home-grown British authors!   #UKYA !

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


You can buy Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

I met Louisa recently at a couple of events one being #UKYAExtravaganza where I ran some quick fire questions past Louisa and some other UKYA authors!

About Louisa Reid

Louisa Pic

Louisa Reid is a writer and teacher living on the Fen Edge. Her debut novel, BLACK HEART BLUE was published in 2012 by Penguin and was shortlisted for the North East Teen Book Award and longlisted for the Carnegie and Branford Boase awards. Her second novel, LIES LIKE LOVE was published in July 2014 by Penguin.

Website: www.louisareid.co.uk

Twitter: http://twitter.com/louisareid

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LouisaHRReid?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5313059.Louisa_Reid?from_search=true

Lies Like Love Blog Tour

Lies Like Love Banner

Tour Schedule


Monday 20th April

Fiction Fascination & An Awful Lot of Reading

Tuesday 21st April

Hyper Ashley & Writing from the Tub

 Wednesday 22nd April

Ya Yeah Yeah & Uncorked Thoughts

 Thursday 23rd April

Eat Read Glam & A Thousand Words, A Million Books

 Friday 24th April

Books for Birds & Bookish Outsider

 Saturday 25th April

Tales of Yesterday & The Little Munchkin Reader

 Sunday 26th April

The Book Moo & Serendipity Reviews




There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.

The prizes include;

One Signed Lies Like Love

One Signed Black Heart Blue

One Bundle of Swag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Lies Like Love?  What did you think?  Have you read Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading….go pick up a copy of this book straight away!


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