Tag Archives: Adventure

Guest Post – A Day In The Life Of An Author by Andy Briggs

Iron Fist

Today I am joined by the wonderful Andy Briggs! 

Iron Fist was released on the 5th May 2015, published by Scholastic and is set to be a brilliant MG Sci-Fi / Adventure read!

I have recently received a copy for review and I simply cannot wait to jump in!

Also the design team at Scholastic have done another brilliant job with this cover – it’s stunning!

Today Andy gives us a day in the life of an author in this fab guest post which may or may not be quite what you would expect…..!

*Hands over to Andy*

About Iron Fist

Iron Fist

The Rules: if you find a secret inventory of utterly deadly battle tech.

1) Do not try it.

2) Do not tell anyone.

3) Do NOT let thieves in behind you.

What’s more secret than top-secret? The Inventory. Home to the deadliest inventions the world isn’t ready for. Invisible camouflage. HoverBoots. Indestructible metals. Plus a giant creature of chaos: war robot Iron Fist. No one has ever broken past the state-of-the-art AI security system. (Seriously, most bad guys have no idea this stuff is even there.)

Problem 1: the security robot wasn’t ready for a gang of kids wandering in.

Problem 2: they’ve ONLY brought the ruthless Shadow Helix gang in behind them. Seriously dumb, but it’s a bit late for ‘sorry’.

Say hello to trouble: the Iron Fist is in the wrong hands!

A Day In The Life Of An Author

As an author I often have people come up to me and ask “what the heck are you doing in my garden?” or other questions which basically amount to what is an average day in the life of an author?

So in homage to the wonderful Sue Townsend’s creation, Adrian Mole, here’s my diary:

8:00 – Good morning world! I bounced out of bed, bursting with ideas and inspiration from a refreshing night’s sleep. Ready to conquer those 5,000 words I need to do today! Let’s go get ‘em!

8:03 – The floor was cold so went back to bed because the inspirational ideas faded away as soon as I found a pencil.

11:14 – Must have nodded off. Now up and active! Breakfast here we come!

12:01 – Straight after breakfast I checked my emails and marked the important ones to reply for the moment I have a spare second, including one from my editor pointing out the deadline for the manuscript. Then I researched my book, which mostly involved watching cat videos. Now it’s time for a short lunch.

12:02 – Just noticed that my editor’s email was sent two days ago. Oh, well. Sure he’ll understand.

14:30 – Lunch over! Now to work!

14:33 – My editor emailed again to check my email was working. He’s getting obsessive!

15:37 – After much hard work I had re-read the 234 words I have crafted today. To the uninitiated it may not sound like much, but I finally placed that pesky comma into a sentence. Victory!

15:46 – Deleted the comma. In doing so came up with an idea for a completely new book! Exciting! Time for a break!

16:18 – Fielded a telephone cold caller for the last thirty minutes. Tried to ask his opinion on the plot point that’s nagging me. Doesn’t he realize he’s the only person I have spoken to in the last thirty-six hours? They ended the call promising never to contact me again.

16:47 – My editor called wanting to know how the manuscript was coming along. I decided to let the answer phone take the call as I was in the middle of finessing this cat chapter. It takes a lot of concentration.

17:13 – Tea break! I skimmed through my work so far. What a great start!

17:54 – Another call from my editor. I was about to pick it up, when I was struck by sudden inspiration for the next chapter, so I think he’ll completely understand that I’m not ignoring him.

18:00 – Well, another hard day’s work finished! Now time to relax, take it easy and belittle those on Facebook who think that writing isn’t a real job.

22:02 – Finally log-off Facebook. Social media is an important tool for writers these days. Just remember that, no matter how many times you are blocked from a group, they really do want to listen to you opinions.

23:57 – After waking up in a cold sweat, I decided to delete the cat video sequence from the book. In the end it didn’t seem to make sense in a high-tech action adventure book. Maybe it will work in the next one?

Iron FistYou can buy a copy of Iron Fist here or why not visit your local independent bookshop

Or why not add it to your Goodreads here

About Andy Briggs


Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events. 

You can find out more about Andy over on his website – www.andybriggs.co.uk

Or why not follow him on twitter using @aBriggswriter

Blog Tour

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

Iron Fist blog tour banner

Thursday 5th May

Chrissi Reads

YA under My Skin

Friday 6th May

Powered by Reading

Emma’s Bookery

Saturday 7th May


Luna’s Little Library

Sunday 8th May


Book Addict

Monday 9th May

Tales of Yesterday

Annalise Books

Tuesday 10th May

Snuggling on the Sofa

Bookish Outsider

Wednesday 11th May

Middle Grade Strikes Back

Minerva Reads

Thursday 12th May

Teens on Moon Lane

Library Girl and Book Boy

Friday 13th May

Live Otherwise

Big Book Little Book

Saturday 14th May

Barts Bookshelf


Sunday 15th May

A Bookish Life

An Awfully Big Adventure

A huge thank you to Faye and Scholastic for having me on the blog tour and to Andy for an absolutely brilliant guest post!

You can catch another fab guest post by Andy Briggs about his favourite fictional worlds here

Have you read any books by Andy Briggs?  Does the Iron Fist sound up your street?  Are your writing days like Andy’s?  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!


Guest Post – A Tale Of Yesterday…From The Top Of The World by Matt Dickinson


Today, 10th March 2016, marks the release of the awesome North Face by the inspirational Matt Dickinson published by Vertebrate Publishing!

Happy Book Birthday Matt!

This is the second book in Matt Dickinson’s Everest Files series, which is based upon upon his own experiences of climbing Everest with actor Brian Blessed during the 1996 disaster.

I am lucky enough to have been offered the chance to feature a fab guest post from Matt at part of the North Face blog tour!

First, here’s a  little about the book…..


Ryan Hart is an 18-year-old adventurer on a mission. To get himself to Mount Everest and check out the truth about the world’s highest peak. Friends have told him dark stories about the mountain, outrageous things that he wants to see for himself.

Just a few hours after Ryan arrives at Everest Base Camp a lethal earthquake strikes. Avalanches pound the glacier, burying Ryan’s climbing buddy and killing many others. A desperate rescue saves Ryan’s friend, but only after a local Tibetan girl Tashi helps with the search.

Stress levels are running high among the climbing teams. The mountain is shut for the season because it is judged too dangerous.

Then a flashlight reveals a clue. Someone is alive, high on Everest’s treacherous north face!

Tashi is convinced it is her 15-year-old brother.

Ryan is prepared to risk everything to help.

Storm clouds gather as they set out on their illegal climb, a do-or-die mission which the local militia will do anything to stop.

Sounds awesome right?!

*Hands over to Matt*


Way back in the mists of time (in the 1920s), a British climber by the name of George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt Everest. His answer was a mysterious one:

‘Because it’s there’

It was an enigmatic response, which said everything… and nothing. Yet somehow the quote has endured as a classic Everest truth. We are climbing it, Mallory was saying, because we can.

Nowadays almost a thousand people a year attempt to climb the mountain and (having met a lot of them) I thought it might be fun to come up with my own list of ‘reasons’ why folk are prepared to risk their lives to stand on the ultimate summit!


These are the ‘right on’ men and women who have a direct line to spiritual enlightenment. They go to Everest because ‘up there’ they will be closer to whichever god is most in fashion at that moment. Most often found half naked, humming quietly to themselves, adopting the lotus position, somewhere near the Base Camp rubbish tip.


These are the most honest climbers of all. They don’t pretend there’s any spiritual dimension, they go for the thrill, the rush of risking their lives, and the ‘gnarly dude’ credentials that an Everest ascent brings. Plus, it looks great on your match.com profile!


These Everest climbers are finance folk (men and women) who are extremely rich and go to Everest because they can’t think of anything else to do. Most often found screaming hysterically at base camp managers when they discover they can’t monitor their share portfolio as there is no Wi-Fi on the mountain.


The oldest man (80). The only couple to get married on summit (yes, really!) The youngest girl (13). Most ridiculous thing to do on the summit (someone took a golf club up and smashed a golf ball into near space orbit). Fastest ascent (13 hours!) These are the bizarre accolades that can bring fame and fortune. Every year these fanatics flock to the slopes hoping for their name check in the Guinness book of Records!


Everyone else who doesn’t fit into the above categories.

You have been warned! Climbing Everest isn’t crazy… but the people who do it are!

My final word if you still want to do it: take a good pair of noise cancelling headphones so you can block out the boasts and bluster of base camp chat. And pack a very thick book.

31ADtZ2XpeL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_You can buy North Face by Matt Dickinson here or why not visit your local independent bookshop for a copy.

About Matt Dickinson


Matt Dickinson is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with a passion for climbing and adventure.

During his filmmaking career he has worked as a director/cameraman for National Geographic television, the Discovery Channel, the BBC and Channel 4. His film projects have taken him to Antarctica, Africa and the Himalaya, often in the company of the world’s leading climbers and expeditioners.

His most notable film success was Summit Fever in which Matt reached the summit of Everest via the treacherous north face. His book The Death Zone tells the true story of that ascent and has become a bestseller in many different countries.

Matt is currently Patron of Reading at Lady Manners School in Bakewell and continues to climb and explore. In January 2013 he summitted Mount Aconcagua, which at 6,965 metres is the highest peak in the world outside the Himalaya. Currently, he is planning an ascent of Denali in Alaska, one of the ‘Seven Summits’.

Recently Matt has started writing fiction for teenage readers. His debut thriller series Mortal Chaos was well received by critics and readers alike. Matt followed this up with the first of three The Everest Files books, which has proven to be very popular. North Face is the hotly anticipated second title in the trilogy.

When he’s not writing, Matt tours the UK, speaking at schools and colleges and inspiring a new generation of adventurers.

You can find out more about Matt by visiting his website here

Blog Tour

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


Another huge huge thank you to Matt for a fab guest post and to Lorna at Vertebrate Publishing for organising!

You catch another blog post by Matt about the Himalayan Megaquake here

Or a guest post about Matt’s book, Lie, Kill, Walkaway here

Are you a Matt Dickinson fan?  Have you read any of the Everest Files?  What did you think?  Has this guest post intrigued you?  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 or climbing Everest!



Tales Quiz – Which Phoenix Burning By Bryony Pearce Character Are You?


Today the 10th March 2016 marks the release day of the explosive sequel to last years Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Burning by Bryony Pearce published by Stripes Publishing!

Happy Book Birthday Bryony!

I really enjoyed Phoenix Rising when I read it last year so the sequel has been high up on my want list ever since!


Today myself and the author of this brilliant series Bryony Pearce have put together a fab quiz where we are asking…

Which character from Phoenix Burning are you?

About The Books

61u16NKyQEL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Sail. Salvage. Survive. Toby’s father is a wanted man. For as long as Toby can remember, they’ve been on the run. The Phoenix has become their home, their backyard the junk-filled seas surrounding it. The crew of the Banshee lives for hunting down the Phoenix and now they’re closing in. Ayla has spent her whole life fighting – preparing for the moment when the Banshee will face its ultimate enemy. But Toby doesn’t want to run any more and Ayla is his only hope. Can he turn an old feud into a new alliance?

61nzuvLWBTL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Toby and Ayla have to infiltrate a sect of sun worshippers to steal the equipment their ships need. They enter a trial to be chosen as the Sun and the Moon, a position of great honour for the sect. As the trial commences, Toby and Ayla discover the true cost of failure. But there are other young couples who are equally desperate to win…Can Toby and Ayla survive days without sleep, hours sitting in the blistering sun and a deadly maze? They’ll need to work together to win – their mission depends on it…

Which character are you most like? 

Take the quiz to find out and share your results with us on twitter or leave a comment.

If you cannot see the quiz below click here and scroll down

About Bryony Pearce

Capture40-200x300Bryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and is the author of Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls.

You can find out more about Bryony on her website here

Or check out her other books or order Phoenix Burning here or why not order it in at your local bookshop

You can also follow Bryony on twitter – @BryonyPearce

Check out a Q&A with Bryony Pearce here

Or read about Bryony’s favourite literary pirates here

Or see a quick fire video with Bryony here or more about the cover of Phoenix Rising here

A huge thank you to Bryony Pearce for playing along and helping to create this quiz!

Also a huge thank you to Jessie at Stripes Publishing for asking me to feature Bryony on Tales.

Have you read any of the Phoenix Rising or Phoenix Burning?  What did you think?  Have you taken the quiz?  Which character are you?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

*sets sail*


Review – Defender Of The Realm by Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Defender of the Realm

I have recently read this fun, action packed MG fantasy by the brilliant duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler, Defender Of The Realm which is released today on the 3rd March 2016 and I loved ever page of it!  I am so over the moon to be part of the wonderful blog tour for this book!

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 , Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler and Scholastic for having me on this wonderful tour and for sending me the book to read.

Defender of the Realm

Super-villains. Hungry monsters. One kid to stop them all. Meet King Alfie: fourteen-year-old British monarch and Defender of the Realm. Alfie never expected to become king so young. He definitely didn’t expect to become a legendary superhero: the Defender. Which means fighting an ancient secret battle against mega-villains and evil monsters. All while grappling with adoring crowds, paparazzi and minders. Now the terrible Black Dragon is rising. Only Alfie can stop him. Think being a king is just about wearing a crown? Wrong.

Publisher – Scholastic UK

Published – 3rd March 2016

Pages – 340 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**

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Defender Of The Realm, but as soon as it came through the post I skim read the first few pages fully intrigued and I was immediately drawn into a world that mixed the real world and fantasy world flawlessly and all with some historical facts, humour and well known United Kingdom landmarks too!

Defender Of The Realm tells the story or Alfie who is a reluctant heir to the thrown and who finds himself thrust into the limelight to take on his duty a little earlier in life than he would have thought.  What Alfie doesn’t expect is the extra responsibilities that come with it… you know the kind of thing…Crown Jewels, Paparazzi, BECOMING AN AWESOME SUPERHERO CALLED THE DEFENDER AND SAVING THE WORLD FROM THE BLACK LIZARD!  When Alfie becomes King he discovers a whole new duty to his country that is steeped in history and kept a secret for many years.  And when the evil Black Lizard seems unstoppable Alfie has to learn to protect his country, be King and be The Defender, but is Alfie the right person for the job?

This book is a real page turner!

I loved the feel of this book.  It felt so very British.  I loved the way even though the characters are fictional I felt like I was taking a sneaky peak behind the scenes of the actual royal family.  That’s how real the characters came across for me.  I loved the references to historical landmarks or traditions which I recognised like The Tower Of London, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey and the tradition of a Coronation and who knew there was a volcanoes under Edinburgh Castle 😉

You will never look at a Beefeater…I mean Yoeman Warder the same ever again after reading this book…..oh the secrets that they possibly hold!

It really reads like a film.  You could picture the scenes playing out on the screen in front of you.

*Hints for someone to make this into a TV show or film immediately*

To top all of this off this book was not only packed with a brilliant action packed plot and brilliant story line it also had a brilliant cast of superb characters.

I adored Alfie right from the action packed off set!  He is heir to the thrown, but doesn’t want to be treated as such and just wants to be a normal boy who can go out for pizza when he wants to.  As a reader I think you really feel for Alfie and you really want him to do well.  You see him grow and mature slightly throughout the book almost like becoming the superhero Defender brings something out in him that he never knew was there.

I also loved Hayley so so much.  The girl who looks after her gran who is thrust into the middle of the world of Alfie, The Defender and the Black Lizard when a trip to The Tower Of London with her gran turns into a battle and she finds a keeps a piece of the Black Lizards tail!  Hayley was awesome.  She says what she thinks and doesn’t give two hoots what people think.  She is honest, caring, funny and demands her voice to be heard.  The friendship between Hayley and Alfie is a friendship that would last forever.

That’s another thing about this book.  It made me laugh and giggle in places.  There are some classic one liners or comedic moments that really make you grin like a Cheshire cat beaming from ear to ear and make you love these characters and the story even more.

There were two characters especially that did just this for me… Brian and L.C.  Oh how I want them to have their own spin off or sketch show.  They were absolutely brilliant fun.  Always at Alfie’s side, but in roles of responsibility.  Brian was the more carefree of the two trying to always tell the “bad smell under his nose” L.C to give Alfie and often Hayley a break.  I loved how L.C was so traditional and does things by the book and when this does not go to plan he is all out of sorts.  But they both have Alfie’s back.  They were a brilliant comedy duo.  They kind of reminded me a little of Jeeves and Wooster or Hacker and Humprey from Yes Prime Minster.

The scene where L.C takes Alfie into the secret passage from Buckingham Palace to the Tower to a secret under ground lair had me in absolute stitches!  There’s Alfie who is experiencing this for the first time and being told to get in a small carriage as it’s quicker and there’s L.C all laid back like he’s about to board the train with his newspaper.  It’s a brilliant scene.

Also a little shout out to the badies….. Fulcher and Turpin the so called MI5 agents who would give the two wet bandits from Home Alone a run for their money and who I hope will make an appearance in book two.

And there’s the Black Lizard!

*quakes in boots*


*runs and hides*

Yes that’s right there is apparently going to be a book two and I cannot wait!  I need this book now!  Especially with the jaw dropping cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers that this book finished on!  I almost felt the authors write that last line with glee mixed with an extremely evil laugh 😉

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves an action packed, superhero read that will make you turn the page and laugh, but also make your heart beat and with all with a little twist along the way that I for one didn’t see coming.

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

1Defender of the Realm

You can buy Defender of the Realm (Defender of the Realm #1) here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

About Mark Huckerby & Nick Ostler

Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler are Emmy and BAFTA-nominated screenwriters best known for writing popular TV shows such as Danger Mouse and Thunderbirds Are Go! 

You can find out more about Mark & Nick on their website www.ostlerandhuckerby.com

Or why not follow them both on twitter using @huckywucky and @nickostler

Blog Tour

Defender Blog Tour Banner

Monday 29th February

Powered by Reading

Library Girl and Book Boy

 Tuesday 1st March

Book Lover Jo

A Bookish Life

 Wednesday 2nd March

Minerva Reads

A Daydreamers Thoughts

 Thursday 3rd March

Tales of Yesterday

My Book Corner

Friday 4th March


Ya Ya Yeah

 Saturday 5th March

Bart’s Bookshelf

Big Book Little Book

 Sunday 6th March

The Arts Shelf


Have you read Defender Of The Realm?  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 and defending the country!




Guest Post – Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs By Abi Elphinstone

51WQvFqEfFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Today I am completely over the moon to be hosting a fab guest post and super giveaway from lovely author and brilliant friend Abi Elphinstone!

Abi’s second book, The Shadow Keeper, was released on the 25th February 2016 and throws us into Moll and Gryff’s magical world for a second time!

Myself and my son adored the first book in the series, The Dreamsnatcher last year and we have been craving The Shadow Keeper ever since!

You can find my review of The Dreamsnatcher here or Corey’s review of The Dreamsnatcher here

So today Abi tells us about the Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs and there may be a few special surprises along the way!

Also don’t forget to check out the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post where you could win a set of both books!

51WQvFqEfFL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_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? Perfect for fans of J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Michelle Paver and Eva Ibbotson

Top 10 Shadow Keeper Songs

When I’m concentrating really hard I don’t write to music. It’s just me and my writing shed. But most of my thinking time takes place on the move with a lot of background noise: kids yelling about One Direction on train journeys to literary festivals, people taking business calls on buses to school events and, if I’m very, very, very lucky, killer whales leaping out of the water on ‘book research boat trips’ (!) in the Arctic. So, I’ve picked out a bunch of songs that got me fired up while thinking about smugglers, secret caves and cliff jumps. Here’s The Shadow Keeper playlist:

The Phantom Of The Opera theme song by Andrew Lloyd Webber

My favourite musical – and the song I listened to while inventing extremely awful things for the Shadowmasks to do…

Sail Away by Enya

I grew up listening to Enya (she’s my Dad’s favourite artist) and I remember hearing this song just before I wrote about the Tribe’s kayak journey to find the last Amulet of Truth.

Hurt by Johnny Cash

Anything by Johnny Cash is incredible and I loved this song so much I borrowed a variation on a lyric for Moll to use right at the end of the book: ‘I want to start again, a million miles from here.’

No One Is Alone from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim

The ending of The Shadow Keeper came to me before the start. I knew exactly what was going to happen, even though every time I thought about it I got a lump in my throat, and I listened to this song on repeat before I wrote the final scene.

The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe theme, original BBC version by Geoffrey Burgon

I watched this series with my family one Christmas (up in Scotland with snow lying thick on the ground outside) and it is one of my happiest memories. Nothing, absolutely nothing, has been more magical to me than listening to this song as Lucy Pevensie opens the wardrobe door. And any time I want to write magic into a scene, I listen to this song before hauling out my laptop.

Concrete Schoolyard by Jurassic Five

When the edits are getting crazy, when there is paper strewn about the house and I feel like I am going to mad, I listen to this song and it chills me out :-).

Hold Back The River by James Bay

In The Shadow Keeper you find out who Alfie really is but when I sat down to write the book I had no idea. I just knew that his past was shady. And then, when I was walking down the street to teach a writing workshop, it came to me. I didn’t have a piece of paper on me so I wrote his story on an oak leaf – then I listened to this song.

Grey or Blue by Jaymay

The lovely Louise Corcoran (bookseller extraordinaire at Foyles) sent me a playlist last year and I fell in love with this song. I listened to it when thinking about Moll’s friendship with Alfie (though in the song there’s a lot more kissing and hopping into bed with boys than books for 8-12-year-olds might allow!).

Septimus from the Stardust movie by Ilan Eshkeri

I plan EVERY chase scene (and I plan a lot of chase scenes) to this song. I feel like I, and my characters, can fly while doing multiple leg-kicks and somersaults when this is playing.

The Gael from Last of the Mohicans by Dougie Maclean

When I imagine Moll, Siddy and Alfie with their bows and arrows (and catapults) I see them tearing across the coast with this song blaring around them.

And presenting ……Abi Elphinstone

And not forgetting the author herself in a starring role….. with some of her favourite Disney songs….. move over Taylor Swift!



You can buy The Shadow Keeper here or why not visit your local independent bookshop.









For The Dreamsnatcher playlist, click here.

Check out my review of The Dreamsnatcher here

Or Corey’s review of The Dreamsnatcher here

You can also check out The Research Behind The Dreamsnatcher here

About Abi Elphinstone

Abi 1 Norway

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. 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


Abi in Waterstones with Gryff



Would you like to win 1 of 5 signed sets of Abi’s books The Dreamsnatcher and The Shadow Keeper?

The lovely Jo at Angel Publicity has kindly given me 5 sets of these fab books to giveaway…and they are signed too!

Enter below to be in with a chance of winning!

Do check out the terms and conditions…..

UK & IRE Only

5 sets = 5 separate winners winning 1 copy of The Dreamsnatcher and 1 copy of The Shadow Keeper as a set.

Books will be sent straight from Angel Publicity / the publishers so the winners will need to provide there name and address details to myself to pass on.

Giveaway ends 3rd March 2016

Winners will be announced on here and on twitter.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge huge thank you to the lovely Abi for asking me to be part of this wonderful blog tour!

And a huge thank you to Jo at Angel Publicity for the awesome giveaway!

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


Are you excited for The Shadow Keeper?  Have you read The Dreamsnatcher?  Do you love Moll and Gryff?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !


Tales Post – The Wizard Of Oz!


I while ago I was asked to nominate a children’s classic pre 1964 that I loved for a feature and write a paragraph on why I was nominating that particular book. I was very excited and wrote a little more than a paragraph on my chosen book….

The Wizard Of Oz by L.Frank Baum

or as it was originally called The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz!

I adore this book so much that I wanted to share this with you and show you my reasons for nominating this book at the time!


Its hard to believe that this book was first published in the year 1900! That fact alone blows my mind slightly….115 years ago! Wow! This book has really stood the test of time and is still a much loved classic today in 2015! I read somewhere once that by 1938, over one million copies of the book (pre film) had been printed and by 1956, the sales of The Wizard Of Oz novel grew to 3 million copies in print!

I like to think that EVERYONE knows the story of Dorothy, Oz, The Emerald City, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman and the Lion, and had been scared by the Wicked Witch of the West or the flying monkeys but maybe more so through the film and not the book? The book for me takes the land of Oz to a whole new level of awesome and adventure!

If you don’t know the story of The Wizard Of Oz it is the story of Dorothy who when a tornado strikes and whisks her and her little dog Toto away to another world, a magical world but makes an enemy in the Wicked Witch of the West when her house lands on and kills her sister the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy learns that to get home she must find the Wizard in the Emerald City. On her way she makes friends with a scarecrow, a tin woodman and a cowardly lion, but will the Wicked Witch of the West ever let Dorothy see Kansas, her home, again?

As a child I grew up with The Wizard Of Oz! My Mom used to read it too me when I was little and I used to drift off and dream of the land of Oz! This is where my love of this book really was established! When I was old enough I was introduced to the 1939 film adaptation with Judy Garland…with added songs (Over The Rainbow is still phenomenal to this day) and what as I grew older realised were amazing special effects and use of Technicolor for it’s day I was again transported to the wonderful land of Oz!

But there were written changes made in the film to that of the book…for example

* Dorothy has silver shoes in the book not ruby slippers!

* Dorothy is a stronger female lead in the book than in the film. A loyal, determined girl (who’s age is never specified in the book) is less damsel in distress like the film portrayed and more the rescuer of her friends rather than them helping her!

* In the book Oz is NOT a dream it’s a real place!

* There are a few more places visited in Oz in the book than in the film like Winkie Country who ask the Tin Woodman to be their ruler and Quadling Country and the china people live (similar to in the other recent film OZ)

* If you have only ever seen the film you will be surprised to find no Professor Marvel, Mrs Gulch or the three farm hands Hunk, Hickory and Zeke in the book! Yes that’s right these were added into the film!

And just to affirm the awesomeness of this book…..for a time it was banned in libraries for several years as is it was considered not to be quality children’s literature and was seen as controversial!


But BANNED = AWESOME in my eyes! Like when a film gets banned and it makes you WANT to watch it rather than avoid it! lol

L Frank Baum wrote many sequels to The Wizard Of Oz…The Marvellous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, The Road to Oz, The Emerald City of Oz, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, Tik Tok of Oz, The Scarecrow of Oz, Rinkitink in Oz, The Lost Princess of Oz, The Tin Woodman of Oz, The Magic of Oz Glinda of Oz andThe Royal Book of Oz and the Oz legend lives on through films (The Wizard Of Oz, The Return to Oz, Oz) and theatre productions like Wicked and many stage productions in schools and theatres around the world of The Wizard Of Oz. How many books can you say have that much inspiration and history 115 years after it was first published? There has also been other modern day books inspired by The Wizard Of Oz…most notably Gregory Maguires Wicked series and Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise!

If you have never read the book, but know the film there are adventures of Dorothy that are awaiting to be discovered and you will fall in love with Oz and all of it’s characters.

This book for me has stood the test of time even after all of these years and captures children’s and adults imaginations everywhere and teaches lessons in friendship, bravery, courage and most of all that there is no place like home!

*dons silver shoes and walks off stage satisfied*

This post was originally posted by me in the Bookish Peeps Forum – here

So if you had to choose a Children’s Classic to champion what would it be and why?  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 !


Cover Reveal – Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


I am delighted to be able to bring you all a fab UK cover reveal for the highly anticipated Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (above) publishing in February 2015 with Faber and Faber!

I have recently been lucky enough to read (thanks to Hannah at Faber and Faber) the first two chapters of this book and I am so super excited to read the rest!  I cannot wait!

So what’s it all about?

Sold immediately at auction across the world, this phenomenal novel is the first in a trilogy packed with shooting contests, train robberies, festivals under the stars, powerful Djinni magic and an electrifying love story. This promises to be a global super lead.

“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.

About Alwyn Hamilton


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

REBEL OF THE SANDS is her first novel.

Find out more about Alwyn Hamilton on her website – http://alwynhamilton.com/

Or why not follow her on twitter using @AlwynFJH 

Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…….

Check out this fab, awesome cover for Rebel Of The Sands!!!


And here it is in more detail……….

Rebel of the Sands


*Grabby hands*

Huge shout out to the design team at Faber and Faber for a stunning cover and brilliant cover reveal gif!

I literally cannot wait for February 2016!

Join in the conversation using the hashtag #RebelSands on twitter 🙂

What do you think of the cover for Rebel Of The Sands?  Did you manage to pick up the first two chapters at YALC?  Are you looking forward to it’s release? 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 joining the rebellion!


Guest Post – Creating An Alien Species by Sophia McDougall









The 2nd July 2015 marked the release date of Space Hostages by Sophia McDougall which is the follow up to the 2014 book Mars Evacuees.

It’s always lovely to receive an email from the lovely Maggie at Egmont so excitedly I clicked on an email she had sent me asking me if me and my son Corey would be interested in two sci-fi YA books….. this is how she described them to me (I had to include this as the descriptions were just brilliant!)…..

Mars Evacuees follows the story of Alice Dare, who is evacuated (bet you saw that coming!) from her boarding school to Mars because the war against the aliens who have invaded Earth, is, in Alice’s words, ‘not going fantastically well.’  She’s sent to Mars as part of a training programme with other children and all sorts of interstellar mishaps ensue.  (The most important thing to remember when you’re sent to junior military training programme on another planet is Always. Carry. Duct. Tape.)   

Space Hostages picks up Alice’s and her friend’s story about a year later, and the first sentence is a real winner: You can’t cry in space.  I won’t say anything else for fear of spoiling everything that happens in Mars Evacuees.


I jumped at the chance and was lucky enough to receive both books! From Maggie’s description and as always fab blogger Jim Dean telling me they are amazing I could not possibly say no.

Currently these are sitting high on my TBR pile and I will be reading them very shortly, but in the mean time I am so honoured to feature a fab guest post from Sophia about how she created an alien species!  It’s completely fascinating and I’m so happy and over the moon to be able to share this post!

I also have a special treat too….Sophia reads an extract from Mars Evacuees at the bottom of the post!  Don’t miss out on watching this as it’s a real treat and gives a brilliant taster of what we should expect in the book!

First though a little about the books……

Mars Evacuees


The fact that someone had decided I’d be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

When Alice Dare finds out that she’s being evacuated to Mars to join the youth defence force, she isn’t sure what to expect. But it sure wasn’t being shot at, chased by invisible aliens, befriending a robot goldfish – and then having to save the galaxy!

A stellar new adventure sci-fi series, perfect for fans of Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl. 

Space Hostages


The second book in this interstellar adventure series, perfect for fans of Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl. 

You can’t cry in space. But I was giving it a good go.

After all, I’d just been THROWN OUT OF AN AIRLOCK by a horde of ALIENS and had about three minutes left to live. So you can’t blame me for trying.

But as it turned out, that was just the start of my adventures . . .

Because very soon it became clear that if I was ever going to get back home, not only would I have to NOT DIE, but me, my friends and our floating robot goldfish would have to SAVE THE WORLD. No, scrap that. THREE WORLDS. All at the same time.

Easy, right?

One of the best things about creating alien species is that it’s a really intriguing way to explore human characteristics – alien creatures can serve as a foil for human characters and also introduce obstacles to the plot.  They can also be a great way to highlight there’s much more that we have in common, than not.

Here author Sophia McDougall tells us what inspired her to create two alien species – the Morrors from Mars Evacuees and the Krakkiluks from the sequel, Space Hostages.

*Hands over to the wonderful Sophia….gives Sophia duct tape as instructed!*

Creating An Alien Species

 I don’t think anyone’s summed up the reasons for wanting to explore space better than Star Trek.  You do it “to seek out new life and new civilisations.”

Partly, it’s about the wonder of the universe and wanting more of it. It’s about wanting to learn from unimaginable cultures, about finding new ways to look at our own species and our own world.

 But it’s also only exciting if you’re at least a little worried some of that new life might want to eat you.

I’m now up to four species of alien, and I could talk about all of them endlessly. In fact, the problem is that I can’t talk about all of them not endlessly.

So for now I’m going to stick to the Morrors, from Mars Evacuees, and the Krakkiluks, from Space Hostages.

“Obviously I was scared of the Morrors, because you can’t see them and they can kill you…”

– Alice, Mars Evacuees.

One challenge when writing the Morrors was to make them seem like a credible product of evolution, without being much like any creature we see on Earth.

But one of the first questions had to be “What’s scary?”

To me, the simplest, best answer had to be: “something invisible.”  If you can’t see something, it could be up to anything, and it could be a million miles away…

…or it could be right next to you.

These aliens would be like ghosts. Invisible. Cold.  Their voices, too, would sound spooky, like long sighs or moans. And they were freezing the whole world over.

But it was important to me that I never introduce a race of aliens who were simply evil, who wanted to destroy or enslave the Earth just for fun. This meant that however bad the Morrors’ actions were – and they’re pretty bad– they would have to have their reasons. They would have to be made up of complex, individual people.

All this meant they couldn’t stay invisible. Part of the story would have to be about the children learning to see them, both literally and figuratively, for who they were.

So if my aliens would be flying in invisible ships and wearing invisibility gowns, what was underneath?

Aliens have been green, red, blue, yellow, purple and grey — not much is left.

Alien colours

At the same time as I as mulling over that, I was thinking: this was a story about two groups, humans and Morrors, who didn’t understand each other. So perhaps that was partly because they’d evolved different ways of communication?

Those two thoughts led me to the idea of a creature that was a patchwork of rapidly changing colours, which, like a chameleon, conveyed messages to other members of its species.  I thought this was a nice inversion of the emotionless alien who is baffled by the strength of human feelings. As far as my Morrors were concerned, humans were the ones who didn’t seem to have feelings. How could they, when they don’t change colours?

I sketched an alien that had hundreds of eyes, which I imagined changing colour with its mood. Clearly such a creature would both see the world and express itself very differently from humans!


There was just one problem. It looked ridiculous.

 It was a bobbly lump no matter how I reshaped it. I couldn’t think of it as a character, and if I couldn’t, no one else would. That’s one trouble of designing an alien – you don’t want it to look like a human, but if it doesn’t have something in common with human beings, it’s very hard to convey that it’s a person. So, rather sadly, I went down to two eyes. I added a newt-like face and long, waving tentacles. I didn’t want the alien the children encountered to be either a boy or a girl – I wanted it to be equally unlike (but also equally like) the boys and girls who were going to meet it. So that led me to the idea that alien sexes would be very different. The Morrors have five sexes, – Ruul, Thuul, Suth-laaa, Quth-laaa and Ma-lashnath.

So there were the Morrors, and there was Thsaaa, the first Morror to be seen by human eyes.

You have infringed and violated the sovereign territory and possessions of the Emperor and Empress of the Krakkiluk Expanse, may their love be ever passionate and fruitful. You are thieves and pirates. And you are all under arrest.”

Krnk-ni-Plik, Space Hostages.

In Space Hostages, instead of the aliens coming to Earth as invaders, the humans go to them, and find one not one but two civilisations, one of which is seriously annoyed by the humans’ arrival.

These aliens were going to be inspired by one of the bad things that has happened when people have, in real life, gone exploring. They take over stuff, and start empires. The Krakkiluks call theirs The Grand Expanse.

 Now, I can’t pretend Evil Alien Empires are exactly rare in sci-fi, but I wanted mine to be a little different. Partly this was down to the way my aliens would look. If they were something more or less like crustaceans, why would they need clothes? But if they were people rather than animals, they would surely decorate themselves in some way, to express something about themselves and their civilisation.

 Here’s what Alice sees when the Krakkiluks first board the ship she’s travelling on, the Helen of Troy.

They were about nine feet tall. They seemed more like crustaceans than anything else, with six limbs; marching—or scuttling—on four pointed feet and brandishing very nasty-looking weapons in their long, segmented arms. Their exoskeletons were a reddish pink, but that didn’t show much; they didn’t wear clothes, but every armored plate of their bodies was decorated or augmented in some way: either painted with elaborate patterns, or lacquered with inlaid enamel, or crusted with diamonds, or covered in spikes.

They’re also very good painters! One of them has a complex battle scene painted all over his thorax. I thought that maybe these big, pink, jewel-encrusted lobster people would be just a bit like Victorians and the British Empire. This means that when they’re not brutally conquering planets, they’re terribly soppy and fond of romance.    

         “Beloved! Tell me they have not hurt you. Speak to me, jewel of my heart, star of my venom bladder!”

“It is only a scratch, moonbeam of my soul,” said the one with the spikes, and then they embraced passionately, which is quite a sight to see when it involves eight-foot, six-limbed, highly armed, bejeweled lobster people.

It was fun to flip the usual thing that aliens say – “What is this thing you humans call Love”? on its head. The Krakkiluks know all about love.

Unfortunately, this won’t stop them shoving you out of the airlock.


You can buy Mars Evacuees here


Or you can by Space Hostages here

Mars Evacuees Reading


Check out this fab reading from Mars Evacuees by the brilliant Sophia McDougall!

About Sophia McDougall


I’M SOPHIA MCDOUGALL. You can call my books sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history, no-genre-in-particular, or whatever else you want. I’ve written plays and poetry, and want to write in and across as many genres as I can before I’m through.

Check out Sophia’s website – www.sophiamcdougall.com

Or why not follow Sophia on twitter – @McDougallSophia

I want to say a huge HUGE thank you to Sophia for the brilliant guest post and to the always lovely Maggie at Egmont for the books and organising this fab guest post!

You are both stars!

Or maybe aliens from another planet?!  Who knows?!  🙂

Have you read Mars Evacuees or Space Hostages?  What did you think?  What would your alien species look like or be called?  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 reading …don’t forget the duct tape!


Tales Q&A With Bryony Pearce

untitledIn a future world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed, an outlawed pirate crew fight for survival on their ship, the Phoenix, kept afloat by whatever they can salvage or scavenge on the debris-filled seas.

Toby has never known anything other than life onboard the Phoenix and he’s desperate for adventure. But when trouble comes hunting the Phoenix down, Toby realizes that what you wish for isn’t always what you want.

He meets beautiful Ayla from the Banshee, a rival pirate ship and sworn enemy of the Phoenix, and his world is thrown into chaos.

untitled1I am delighted to be finishing off the brilliant blog tour for Bryony Pearce’s new YA novel, Phoenix Rising, which was released on the 1st June 2015, published by Stripes Publishing this will be followed by the exciting sequel Phoenix Burning in 2016!

I recently kicked off the blog tour where Bryony told me about her favourite literary pirates – here !

But first who will you pledge your allegiance to?

 Are you #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew?

I swear my allegiance to the #BansheeCrew !  We are feared and fearless!  We are merciless and amoral!  We believe in the ideals of strict hierarchy.  We are mercenary and we will not show weakness!  We will survive at all costs!

We are determined to get to the island before our sworn enemies, the #PhoenixCrew!

 Are you #PhoenixCrew or #BansheeCrew?  Do you think my allegiance has changed since reading the book or have I stuck with the #BansheeCrew?

Find my revew here

Today I have an awesome Q&A with Bryony all about Pheonix Rising, pirate names, inspiaration and more!

*Hands skull and cross bone flag over to Bryony*

Hi Bryony!  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday!

Firstly I would like to let you know that I am recruited to #BansheeCrew – we are feared and fearless, but please don’t let that affect your answers 😉

Can you tell us a little about your new book Phoenix Rising?


Phoenix Rising is a story of pirates, set in a dystopian future following some pretty massive geopolitical changes to the surface of the planet. It’s a rollicking adventure with a strong environmental message.

Find my review here

What inspired you to write the story of Toby and Ayla?

I enjoy world building and loved creating their world, and I felt that theirs’ was an important story to tell, a lot of fun and with a serious lesson at its core, about trust and relationships.

What made you set the book in a futuristic  world where fossil fuels have run out and democracy has collapsed?

Toby as a character fit best into a future world and the world I created was, to me, the logical next step to a culture as consumerist and wasteful as our own, a culture where the resources have been used up and which has been turned into a giant junk yard.

Do you see yourself in any of the characters in Phoenix Rising or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

I imagine that all writers put parts of themselves into their characters, sometimes it’s the parts we don’t admit to ourselves, sometimes it’s the part of ourselves that would like to be an adventurous pirate, but cannot. Sometimes it is simply the parts of other people (or ourselves) that we admire, or dislike the most (depending on whether we’re writing a good guy or a bad guy). I see bits of myself in all of my characters. I just won’t tell you which bits!

What would your pirate name be?

According to this great pirate name generator, my name would be ‘Polly “Soft Heart” Peacock’. I’m not convinced frankly, I reckon I’d be way more bad ass!


Oh how fun!  My name is……

Mabel “Tall Story” Glynn!

“The Curse of Skull Sands!”
This pirate be sending off the navy quaking in their boots!


One thing I loved about the book was all the piratey action and ways of living. Did you have to put much research into this or did this come naturally?

A little bit of both, I did a lot of research, I learned a lot about fighting, engineering, the environment, renewable energy sources and so on, plus I can play a mean game of Perudo. But I think a lot of what is in the book comes from my imagination and years of watching old films and reading pirate adventure stories.

You can find Bryony’s favourite literary pirates here

The big question is are you #BansheeCrew or # Phoenixcrew?

Although I love the characters on the Banshee, who are, let’s face it, way more kick ass than those on the Phoenix, the Phoenix would be a much nicer crew to live with. So I’m going to have to say #PhoenixCrew

I can’t believe you didn;t want to join me on the #BansheeCrew!!!    ATTACK!!

If you could cast your characters in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

That’s a really hard one, especially as most of the actors I know are a bit old for the parts. Rooney Mara would be a fabulous Ayla, Josh Hutcherson would be a really great Toby because he has that blend of naïveté and heroic bravery that typifies him and Kento Yamazaki would play Hiko really well.








Oh8e5ANI think these choices are perfect!!

Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Bryony Pearce?

I am a vegetarian

I am scared of the dark

When I’m stressed I love to read Terry Pratchett books (or Urban Fantasy)

I had a total hip replacement in 2007 and still dream about running

I have a cat and two degus, but I’d really like a dog

Could you tell us a little about your other books?

indexAngel’s Fury is a supernatural thriller about a girl who realises that she has lived before and that all of her lives are being manipulated by a fallen angel who is trying to destroy mankind.

indexThe Weight of Souls is another supernatural thriller, about a London teenager who sees dead people. If a ghost touches her she has to avenge its death and when the boy who has been tormenting her for years is murdered, she has to find his killers.

I have another book coming out in November called Runners of Mars (although the title may change). Set on a terra-formed Mars it is about a teenaged girl who wants to become a ‘Runner’ against all her people’s laws.

Oh wow!  This sounds awesome! 

Growing up who inspired you into writing? Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

I was a huge Anne Macaffrey fan and I wanted to write character driven stories that would touch people as strongly as her work touched me.

indexWhat do you think makes a good story?

There are lots of different ingredients. I don’t like things to be too black and white, I love a good anti-hero – they always draw me in. I like a story to make me think, to deal with issues without being too obvious about it. For me a good story needs to grip me by the throat and not let go until the final word.

Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

Tom Pollack City’s Son.


Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with? Who?

I’m pretty easy going (but don’t tell that to my kids), I’d be happy to collaborate with anyone who doesn’t mind working with someone as neurotic as I am!

When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

It doesn’t look like anything at first – seriously, I just let things percolate for as long as I can, I don’t even make many notes. Then, once the story has fallen into place I write a synopsis, then I do a chapter by chapter outline. I start writing, essentially filling it in and research the heck out of everything as I’m going along.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I don’t think so, but then all of us writers are a bit strange and I don’t have anything to compare myself too (it’s not like working in an office). Is it strange to work in your slippers and track suit bottoms with innumerable cups of cold tea by one hand?

Recently I asked some lovely UKYA authors their thoughts about does music influence their books or their characters. Did music have any influence in Phoenix Rising?

I don’t listen to music while I write, I prefer silence. That way I can get inside the characters, see what they see, hear what they hear. I’m very immersive.

Can you tell us a little about the sequel to Phoenix Rising, Phoenix Burning and when is it due out?

Phoenix Burning is due out in March and I’m just editing it now. It’s more of a heist novel, as the main characters need to steal some key components to get their solar panels working and it explores a bit more of Toby’s world and the people who live in it. There are crosses and double crosses, lots more action and the return of a character they thought long vanished from their lives.

Thank you so much for appearing on Tales today Bryony!  I can’t wait for the sequel to Pheonix Rising next year!

About Bryony Pearce

CaptureBryony lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition and is the author of Angel’s Fury and The Weight of Souls.

You can find out more about Bryony on her website here

Or check out her other books or order Phoenix Rising here or why not order it in at your local bookshop

You can also follow Bryony on twitter – @BryonyPearce

A huge thank you to Bryony for the answers to all my probing questions and to Jessie at Stripes for sending me a copy of the book and for having me on the tour!

Check out what Bryony’s reaction to her cover reveal was here

Dont’t forget to check out Bryony’s favourite literary pirates here

Also find out which Phoenix Burning Character You Are here

I also chatted to Bryony at the #UKYAExtravaganza in February 2015 – you can find the full post and goings on here

When I spoke to Bryony at an event in Birmingham she told me a little about Phoenix Rising in her own words….warning – I asked her to describe the book in five words!!  I am a very cruel Captain Chelley!

Don’t forget to catch up on the rest of the brilliant blog tour! 


Who are your favourite pirates in literature?  Are you looking forward to reading Phoenix Rising?  Have you read it already?  Which crew would you like to be or were you assigned to?   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 pirating!


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


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...