Tag Archives: Abi Elphinstone

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 – The Adventures Behind The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone


In celebration of The Night Spinner, the last in the brilliant The Dreamsnatcher series, being release on the 23rd February 2017 I am so over the moon to be hosting another brilliant post from one of my favourite authors, Abi Elphinstone.

This trilogy has been phenomenal and has captured my heart and although I am sad to see it end I am also excited to see what Abi has in store for us next!

As well as all of this Abi Elphinstone is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 author of the month for February 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Abi and her books and find out why people are loving them – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win a signed set of the trilogy in all it’s glory!

Abi is known for her many adventures, so what adventures are behind The Night Spinner?  Find out in today’s fab guest post!


About The Night Spinner

Moll Pecksniff and her friends are back for a new adventure as the thrilling trilogy that began with The Dreamsnatcher concludes.

In a ruined monastery in the northern wilderness, a Shadowmask called Wormhook sits in front of a spinning wheel. He is spinning a quilt of darkness known as the Veil. A masked figure then carries the Veil across the lands, slipping it through the windows of children’s bedrooms to poison their minds…

Meanwhile deep within Tanglefern Forest, Moll and her wildcat, Gryff, are waiting for a sign from the Old Magic before they continue their quest to find the last Amulet of Truth and free their world from the Shadowmasks’ terrible magic.
 
Still missing fellow Tribe member, Alfie, and armed only with a mysterious set of clues, Moll sets out on an adventure across the northern wilderness with Gryff and her friend Siddy at her side. They must brave the Lost Isles, scale the Barbed Peaks and face witches, goblins and giants who lurk at every turn . . . while the Shadowmasks draw ever closer.

Can Moll, Siddy and Gryff find the friend they think they have lost? And do the Tribe have what it takes to defeat the Dark magic once and for all?

Perfect for fans of J.K Rowling, Piers Torday and Eva Ibbotson.


The Adventures Behind The Night Spinner

I was lucky enough to grow up in the wilds of Scotland – a country of icy lochs, snow-capped mountains, rugged islands and sprawling moors – and when I sat down to write my third book, The Night Spinner, I thought back to the adventures I’d had as a twelve-year-old girl there: building dens in the woods; listening to stags roaring in the glens; watching golden eagles soar. And I knew that I wanted to take my characters to a land like this. The world in The Night Spinner is called the northern wilderness and adventures enjoyed up in Scotland, both as a child and more recently, coupled with a few other explorations slightly further afield, built the plot.

Re-discovering the world beyond The Blue Door

Out of all the wild places I explored as a child in Scotland, there is one that sticks out: a walk just north of a village called Edzell, a few miles from our house. After you leave the village, you cross an old stone bridge and then, on your left, there is a little blue door. You could miss it if you didn’t know it was there but my parents knew about it and they pushed it open. And what lay beyond could well have been Narnia. On the left, thundering through a steep gorge, the North Esk River browned by peat from the moors and on the right, above the gorge, a little path that wove alongside rhododendron bushes, silver birches, beech trees and a long-forgotten folly. The gorge opens up eventually, then the lochs, moors and mountains take over. When writing The Night Spinner, I walked through the Blue Door many times – to watch salmon leap from the river and to take notes inside the folly – and before long the North Esk river became The Clattering Gorge and my characters had found something extraordinary inside the folly there…

Quad-biking across the moors

To build The Rambling Moors in my book, I spent weeks walking through the Scottish glens. I heard stags bellowing, I watched coveys of grouse pour over the hills and I saw golden eagles circling the crags. I rented a quad bike one day so that I could cover more ground and as I tore across the heather, I imagined my characters fleeing the Shadowmasks across this same landscape and before long, my moors were teeming with mystical creatures: peatboggers, skeleton-stags and a goblin called Kittlerumpit (whose name I pinched from a Scottish retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale called Whuppity Stoorie).

Climbing Lochnagar in the Cairngorms

On Easter morning last year, I set out to climb Lochnagar with my husband – partly because I thought the name was fabulous and partly because I’d heard the view from Perseverance Wall up at the top was spectacular. During the first half of the climb the landscape was purpled by heather and green with juniper bushes. Further up though, the mountain was still locked in the icy grip of winter and it reminded me of how wild and inhospitable the Scottish mountains can be. I wanted a range of almost inaccessible mountains in The Night Spinner and so, after that climb I invented The Barbed Peaks and as I sketched them onto a fictional map for my book I drew a circle of deadly summits in their midst and called that The Stone Necklace.

Exploring Eilean Donan Castle

I’ve always loved the idea of writing about an enchanted castle. Perhaps that stemmed from living near Dunnottar Castle, a dramatic ruined fortress on the cliff top near Stonehaven, and my always believing that such a place was magical. Or maybe it was reading fairytales about maidens locked in towers and dragons lurking around castle walls. Whatever the reason, I booked a tour of the magnificently situated Eilean Donan Castle to spark ideas for my fictional castle. I pinched the location of this castle, perched on an outcrop of land in Loch Duich on the west coast of Scotland, for my book, and the items inside it – spinning wheels, cannon balls and beakers carved from the ivy that once clung to the castle ruins – set my mind reeling for magical motifs withing my story.

Swimming across Loch Duich

When I donned my wetsuit for this swim the sun was shining and I was anticipating a refreshing dip. But the clouds rolled over as soon as I reached for my first stroke and, despite it being July, it felt like I was swimming through a block of melted ice. Someone once told me that lochs are as deep as the mountains are high and as I saw across Loch Duich I remembered that – and gulped. I had no idea how deep Loch Duich was but I’d heard talk that Loch Morar, in Lochaber, was 310 metres deep. And glancing down, it felt easy to imagine monsters like Loch Ness lurking in the depths… Shortly after this swim, I wrote about a very, very deep loch at the foot of the Barbed Peaks, and I made it home to a mysterious monster.

Hiking through the Dolomites in Italy

I went to the Dolomites last Autumn because of tales from friends of staggering waterfalls, jagged peaks and World War One tunnels stretching the length of giant mountains. But once out there, I realised that I could borrow aspects of this incredible – and haunting – place for The Night Spinner. I saw mountain peaks bursting through the clouds and look-out posts on the precipices of cliffs, where Italian soldiers had watched Austrian troops advancing. And so, when writing about The Rookery, a forgotten monastery carved into the cliffs with turrets masked by the clouds, I drew on my hikes through the Dolomites.

Escaping The Labyrinth in Berlin

A few years ago, I went to Berlin to visit a friend for the weekend. She asked what I wanted to do and I said: ‘Something off the beaten track. Something weird that I can write about one day.’ And so she took me to The Labyrinth, an old warehouse in Friedrichshain converted into a maze of passageways made entirely of recycled materials. Outside the warehouse, I was given a coin by an organizer then I was blind-folded and led away from my friend. A few seconds later, I heard a door click shut and I realised I was alone, with no instructions as to what to do next. I took off my blindfold to find I was in phone box but everything was dark outside it. There was a small TV screen in front of me depicting a man placing a coin into a slot. I stared at him, bemused, then remembered the coin in my own palm and noticed there was a slot in front of me. I pressed it in. A moment later, the front of the phone box fell down and I was inside the labyrinth – a dark maze with stairs leading up to giant mirrors and passageways lined with skulls and sculptures of crooked hands. I ran through the corridors, trying to find a way out, but ended up stumbling through a trap door and landing on a mattress inside what appeared to be a giant egg with seven passageways leading off from it. I choose one and realised, half way down it, that it was shrinking in size and before long I wouldn’t be able to keep going. I backed away and tried another passageway then another, occasionally stumbling across other people desperately trying to find their way out (to this day, I have no idea whether those people were actors or punters in a similar position to me…). I blundered on until eventually I burst out of a door into the sunlight. My friend followed an hour later. ‘Did you see the white room with bizarre instruments?’ she said. ‘And the pitch-black tower ringing with echoes? I spent ages sitting in there; it was amazing.’ ‘No,’ I replied. ‘I didn’t see any of that. I was trying my best to escape.’ And as we chatted to the organisers we realised that the labrynith was, in fact, a psychological experiment – it tested whether, in the face of strange and unsettling experiences, you fled or slowed down to enjoy them. I fled, as if the Shadowmasks themselves were on my heels… But I’ve always remembered that labyrinth and in The Night Spinner, I created my own one beneath Whuppity Cairns, a collection of stones on top of Rambling Moors.

You can buy a copy of The Night Spinner 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. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER.  This year marks the release of the final book in the trilogy THE NIGHT SPINNER!

When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

www.abielphinstone.com


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Simon & Schuster I am also hosting a special giveaway on twitter to win a signed set of the trilogy in all it’s glory!


A huge thank you to Abi Elphinstone and Hannah at Simon & Schuster for such a fab post and for organising, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17, providing a copies of The Dreamsnatcher Trilogy to giveaway!

You can catch previous blog posts by Abi on Tales by clicking on the below links.

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Abi Elphinstone

The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher

Top 10 Shadowkeeper Songs

Review – The Dreamsnatcher

Corey’s Corner Review – The Dreamsnatcher

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

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

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Author Of The Month – Abi Elphinstone


I am so excited to have announced yesterday that the brilliant Abi Elphinstone is our #BritishBooksChallenge17 Author Of The Month for February 17!

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

I am a huge HUGE fan of Abi and her books full of fun filled adventure.  With a trilogy not to be missed that all started with The Dreamsnatcher and a brilliant short story collection Abi is a brilliant UK Middle Grade talent and I am so excited to shine the spotlight on her and her wonderful books as Author Of The Month!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Look out for a super guest post from Abi this February also with a fab giveaway!


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. THE DREAMSNATCHER was her debut novel for 8-12 years and is followed by THE SHADOW KEEPER.  This year marks the release of the final book in the trilogy THE NIGHT SPINNER!

When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, teaches creative writing workshops in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventure involved living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia…

Twitter: @moontrug

Instagram: @moontrugger

www.abielphinstone.com


The Books and Why We Love Abi Elphinstone

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.

Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.

You can find my review of The Dreamsnatcher here

Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late?

In a ruined monastery in the northern wilderness, a Shadowmask called Wormhook sits in front of a spinning wheel. He is spinning a quilt of darkness known as the Veil. A masked figure then carries the Veil across the lands, slipping it through the windows of children’s bedrooms to poison their minds…

Meanwhile deep within Tanglefern Forest, Moll and her wildcat, Gryff, are waiting for a sign from the Old Magic before they continue their quest to find the last Amulet of Truth and free their world from the Shadowmasks’ terrible magic.
 
Still missing fellow Tribe member, Alfie, and armed only with a mysterious set of clues, Moll sets out on an adventure across the northern wilderness with Gryff and her friend Siddy at her side. They must brave the Lost Isles, scale the Barbed Peaks and face witches, goblins and giants who lurk at every turn . . . while the Shadowmasks draw ever closer.
 
Can Moll, Siddy and Gryff find the friend they think they have lost? And do the Tribe have what it takes to defeat the Dark magic once and for all?

A beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical short stories from acclaimed children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Berlie Doherty, Lauren St John and Katherine Woodfine, and edited by author Abi Elphinstone.

Dreamsnatcher’s Abi Elphinstone heads up this gorgeous collection of wintery stories, featuring snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers . . . from classic children’s writers such as Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Katherine Woodfine, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward, Michelle Harrison and Emma Carroll.

An unmissable, enchanting treat of a collection that will be enjoyed for years to come, by readers of all ages.

You can buy any of Abi Elphinston’s books here or from your local book shop!


A huge thank you to the lovely Abi Elphinstone fan’s that provided me with quotes for this post.  I highly recommend all of these books from our February Author Of The Month!

Look out for a super guest post from Abi this February also with a fab giveaway!

And remember if you read, review and link up any of Abi’s books for our #BritishBooksChallenge17  February link up here you will gain an extra entries into the February Prize Pack Draw!

Are you an Abi Elphinstone Fan?  Do you have a favourite book?  Are you new to Abi Elphinstone?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this review or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


Dreamsnatcher Final High Res Cover

Today I am honoured to have the lovely Abi Elphinstone, author of the fantastic The Dreamsnatcher which is out on the 26th February with a fantastic guest post!  Today Abi talks about the research behind The Dreamsnatcher.

This book is simply a must read for fans of middle grade fantasy adventure!  Published by Simon & Schuster it is a fantastic debut novel that both me and my son adored when we were lucky enough to read it recently (find our reviews here and here).

Without further ado I will hand you over to the wonderful Abi Elphinstone!


Dreamsnatcher Final High Res Cover

Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Michelle Harrison and Eva Ibbotson.

image1


Here is a pie chart of how I spend my authory time:

1

 As you can see, I spend aaaaaaaages on the book research – and that’s partly because I love adventures and partly because I’m dyslexic so I have to have my characters, settings and plot pretty much ‘sorted’ before I jump into the writing…

2

 Abi doing book research for the sequel in a cave up in Scotland

 I knew that the New Forest had been home to some of the most well-known Romany gypsies over time so when my book was still just an idea I headed down there to explore. Although my book is set in an invented world, it is grounded in reality so that each place feels believable. And once in the New Forest I…

  • walked for miles through ancient woodland (I worked out locations where Oak’s camp and Skull’s gang could have settled)
  • climbed the highest trees I could find (I found a yew like the one Moll and Siddy would have built their tree fort inside)
  • paddled in a stream (which became the river boundary Oak sets up to keep Moll safe from the Dreamsnatcher)
  • walked over the heath amid the wild ponies (I modeled the gypsy cobs on these)

 Suddenly Moll’s world came completely to life.

3 Wildcat in January

 The New Forest also helped me to build my characters. It was a freezing day in January when I went to watch the wildcats in the wildlife park there but I sat in the snow before the huge cages, watching them sleep, eat, stretch and slink around their territory.

  • I listened to their greeting call (‘Broooooooo’) and their warning growls (‘Urrrrrr’) which sent shivers down my spine
  • I watched them leap, like ripples of silk, from the tallest part of their enclosure to the ground
  • I watched them rip apart meat with razor-sharp claws (and that made me understand that Gryff, although a friend to Moll, had to be ultimately wild at heart)

 And after seeing all this, Gryff went from being a page on Wikipedia to a fully-drawn character.

4 Pete Ingram’s Romany hearth

 To shape my other characters, the gypsies, I had to get as close as I could to their culture and to do this I met up with one of the last ‘true Romanies’ – Pete Ingram. Having moved out of his bowtop wagon that he bought for £8 when he was 15-years-old, Pete now lives in a yard on the outskirts of a village in Hampshire, where he restores and repaints old gypsy wagons (he repainted Roald Dahl’s wagon for the Danny The Champion of the World film premiere!). In his shed he has over a hundred wooden carvings lining the windowsills and corners of the room, sheepskins thrown over wicker chairs, piles and piles of old leather-bound books, dagger sheaths he’d made from a lady’s handbag, lassos wound round the backs of chairs; and the heart of the room – a well-used woodstove.

 Peter taught me how to make chrysanthemums from elder wood that gypsy women like Mooshie would have hawked, he showed me how to ‘play the bones’ (animal bones clinking together in time to folk music – watch him here) and he danced wooden puppets he’d carved and painted himself. And no amount of Google research could have given me that sort of experience…

5 Pete Ingram playing with wooden puppets he carved

 So I guess half of my research is ‘targeted’. If I want to know what wading through a river in the New Forest at midnight would feel like, I’ll do it. But the other side to my research is almost subconscious. My brain is a bit like a net; a lot of information drifts out through the holes (Pythagorus Theorum, the periodic table, how to do a tax return), but some sights, smells and sounds just stick – and though I don’t realise it at the time, that kind of ‘stuff’ makes up some of my best research. Years ago I was travelling Africa and I wound up in the cobbled streets of Zanzibar. I found myself in a tiny shop packed full of tribal masks and then years later, when I came to write about Skull, I realised I could use the idea of a mask to make him even more frightening.

6 African masks

 But it can be even more simple than that. A few months ago I was ordering a cocktail in a bar in East London. I scanned the cocktail list and noticed one called Smog Sprockett. The name stuck and now it’s the name of the street urchin in the sequel! So whether it’s abseiling 80 metres down into a cave in the Brazilian jungle, hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro (get ready for the sequel!) or glancing at a funny-looking street sign in Devon, I reckon research is the backbone of my stories.

Abi-1

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. THE DREAMSNATCHER is her debut novel and when she’s not writing about Moll and Gryff, she volunteers for Kidsco, does star jumps on the top of very high mountains and runs her children’s books blog www.moontrug.com

Author website: www.abielphinstone.com

Twitter: @moontrug

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abi.elphinstone

Instagram: @moontrugger


I would like to thank Abi for her wonderful guest post and appearing on Tales Of Yesterday.  I have found reading this post really interesting and inspiring and I hope you all enjoyed it to.  The Dreamsnatcher is so magical and is a must read for 2015!

Why not add The Dreamsnatcher to your want to read on Goodreads here ?

Or preorder / buy a copy here – you won’t regret it!

You can also catch some fab Q&A videos with Abi by clicking on the links below!

What inspired you to write The Dreamsnatcher?

Tell us about The Dreamsnatcher

Which character do you most relate to an why?

What research did you do for The Dreamsnatcher?

What tips would you give an aspiring writer?

Can you tell us about your next book?

What do you do when your not writing?

Tell us about your average working day.

What are your top 5 desert island reads?

The Dreamsnatcher Playlist

Check out this fab guest post by Abi with top 10 Shadow Keeper (which is the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher) Songs here

Happy adventures!

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Corey’s Corner – Review – The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


 untitledTwelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure

Check out the magical book trailer!


Publisher – Simon & Schuster Ltd

Date Published – 26th February 2015

Pages – 288 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – Children’s

Source –

My Mom was sent a limited edition book proof of this book by the wonderful Lovereading4kids, the publisher Simon & Schuster Ltd and the author Abi Elphinstone in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way.  Thank you all for sending us this book to read and review.


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


Hi I’m Corey.  I am 9 years old…my Mom who runs Tales Of Yesterday has let me have my own little corner so I can write reviews on books.  I really enjoy reading and hope to share my thoughts with you!

First, I’ll speak about the main characters. There is: Moll, Oak, Alfie (later in the book), Siddy and Gryff – The cat.  Gryff was my favourite character because he reminded me of my cat Louie.  Louie always protects me and sleeps at the bottom of my bed.  He has brown stripy fur and licks me a lot!

Secondly, my favourite bit. I loved the part where it goes on about all the strange and gruesome things in the tree house.  I wish I had a tree house to keep disgusting things in to scare my Mom!

Thirdly, what impression did it leave on me? I was pretty relieved because I thought Gryff was going to die!

Fourthly, would I change anything?  No I would not change anything. It is perfectly fine as it is.  I really enjoyed it!

If I would recommend this book to another person –  yes. My younger step-brother although im concerned he might not be able to read all the long words…but he would have fun reading the adventure like I did.

I think the sort of person that would like this book will have had a taste of adventure and like magic and fun!

Now, in conclusion, I am going to rate this book out of 5!  Before I do this I have got to say this book was exquisite and I am looking forward to reading the sequel.  Also well done to the author of the book which is Abi Elphinstone.  So the rating out of 5 from me is……

5 OUT OF 5 COREY CORNER BOOKS!

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About Abi Elphinstone

Abi-1

I grew up in Scotland where weekends were spent building dens in the woods, jumping into icy rivers, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. School came as a bit of a surprise (lots of ‘being inside’ and ‘listening’) but English lessons were great. I loved stories – reading them, writing them, listening to them – and it was back then that I discovered worlds  behind wardrobes, teachers called Trunchbull and shape-shifting daemons…

 I got through school, despite being branded as ‘unteachable’ and ‘prone to spasmodic outbursts of silliness’ by my headmistress, and after an English degree at Bristol University and several years as an English teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London, I am now back to hiding in tree houses and building dens – sometimes in real life, mostly in my books.  

The Dreamsnatcher is my debut novel for 9-12 year olds and a sequel will be published in 2016. When I’m not writing about Moll and Gryff’s adventures, I blog about children’s books over at www.moontrug.com, work as a volunteer for a charity called Beanstalk, do star jumps on the top of mountains and remember the good old days when I used to dress up as a unicorn.

You can find out more about Abi on her website here

Or follow her on twitter using @moontrug


 Happy Reading

Corey!

 You can see my Mom’s review here

Or find out the research behind The Dreamsnatcher here

Check out this fab guest post by Abi with top 10 Shadow Keeper (which is the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher) Songs here

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Review – The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


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Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Check out the magical book Trailer!


Publisher – Simon & Schuster Ltd

Date Published – 26th February 2015

Pages – 288 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – Childrens

Source –

I was sent a limited edition book proof of this book by the wonderful Lovereading4kids, the publisher Simon & Schuster Ltd and the author Abi Elphinstone in exchange for an honest review.  This does not affect my review or my opinions in any way.  Thank you all for sending me this book to read and review.


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


I literally have so much to say about this book that I am really hoping that this review can do this debut authors book justice!  I loved this book….. a lot!  Since the end of Harry Potter I have been looking for a book and / or book series that could fill that Harry Potter void in my life.  A book that has the right mix of great characters, humour, magic and action!  It’s taken me a while…and I present to you The Dreamsnatcher!

The Dreamsnatcher is about Moll, a twelve year old girl who lives in the Ancientwood with Oak, the great leader of the camp, his wife Mooshie who knows how to inflict pain with a tea towel, a protective feline wild cat called Gryff and a great gypsy camp full of characters and community spirit.   Moll was found abandoned in the forest by Oak and Mooshie with no family to call her own.  Moll, along with her wildcat Gryff, discover that some dark magic is at play and along with her best friend Siddy and a mysterious boy called Alfie they embark upon a magical adventure in search of the old magic of the bone murmers, special amulets, the truth and to find out what the terrifying Soul Splinter that killed Moll’s parents is all about!

Right from the start of the book debut author Abi Elphinstone captures the atmosphere and pace of the book perfectly and the sense that Moll and Gryff, whilst rescuing her horse Jinx, are in great danger is apparent and actually makes your heart beat faster routing for Moll from the offset.

The sense of good and bad is fantastically built up in the readers imagination in the sense that one half the forest, the good Ancientwood has good healthy trees and the bad side of the forest, the Deepwood has unhealthy trees with cages of bones, dead rats and a scary bone mask wearing leader called Skull!

Skull, a witchdoctor, is a truly terrifying  villain who creeped me out many times.  His whole presence is spooky and provides nerve-wracking tension and I think even Lord Voldemort would be quaking in his robes!

There are some touching friendships portrayed in this book my favourite being between Moll, a very head strong, brave and determined lead character and Siddy who provides the comedy element with his earthworm Porridge The Second and being able to fit eleven chestnuts into his mouth that Siddy thinks will one day make him famous was the deal breaker for this character for me.  Alfie, a mysterious boy from Skulls camp provides a sense of mystery and along with Raven his noble horse provide some great moments for the reader.  This being said Moll and her wildcat Gryff have a heart warming friendship also and again Abi Elphinstone captures the whole premise of a cat and their loving ways and even the cat language was perfect!

The Ancientwood community and gypsy camp family is again written perfectly.  Such great characters who all look out for Moll and Gryff.  My favourite of the bunch was definitely a yellow toothed, bow tie wearing character called Hard-Times Bob who’s party trick is dislocating his limbs for a laugh (ouch!).

Following these characters on a magical journey through woods, heaths, old cottages, rivers and dreamsnatches is completely page turning and with short fast paced snappy chapters the pages really did just keep turning.

This book has everything!  Magic, talismans, woods, tree spirits, rituals, voodoo wax figures, tree houses, oracle bones, witch doctors, riddles and puzzles, touching friendships, fab characters and an adorable wildcat!  This book is a real magical adventure.  The keywords that jumped out to me from this book were friendship, family, community and courage.

Upon receiving this book I literally had to prise the book from my 9 year olds, Corey’s, hands and in the end had to book share with him!  The fights we had over who’s turn it was to read the book before bed led to an interesting week or so.  Corey is planning to post his own review of The Dreamsnatcher on Tales Of Yesterday very soon over on his first Corey’s Corner post….but I can tell you now he absolutely loved this book!

I will be recommending this book to all the children (and adults) I know as one to read in 2015 and a fabulous author to keep an eye on and with the ending setting up book two nicely and is portrayed in such a way that you actually feel scared for what is coming I cannot wait for 2016 when the next book is published!

A fantastic, magical debut Children’s novel The Dreamsnatcher is a dream to read!

Also check out my 9 year old sons review of The Dreamsnatcher here!

Also find out the research behind The Dreamsnatcher here

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

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You can pre-order / buy this book here

If you would like to know more about Abi Elphinstone  check her out on her website www.moontrug.com or follow her on twitter using @moontrug

Also please check out more reviews of this book and other fabulous children’s books on the brilliant Lovereading4kids website.

Check out this fab guest post by Abi with top 10 Shadow Keeper (which is the sequel to The Dreamsnatcher) Songs here

Do you think you will buy this book when it is out?  Or even pre-order the book?  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

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