Tag Archives: Andersen Press

Guest Post – #GoodbyeDaysPlaylist – Grief by Jeff Zentner


Today I have the brilliant Jeff Zentner on Tales to celebrate the release of his new YA novel, Goodbye Days.

Goodbye Days was released on the 6th April 2017 published by Andersen Press and is a story of grief and friendship.

This is a slightly different blog tour and I have a blog tour post with a musical twist!

I also got asked a question when emailed the content for this post……

“How you would spend your Goodbye Day with a loved one?”

This one single question hit all of my emotions and had quite an effect on my.  I read Jeff’s paragraph and listened to the song he had chosen from his playlist to accompany the piece and basically whilst I am writing this I am a complete emotional wreck with tears falling onto the keyboard.  Without realising it I had been provided with a piece and a question that I really needed to read.

Early this year I found out a work colleague of mine, in his 40’s, had died suddenly, without warning, and it really hit me!  I mean sure we were only work colleagues, but he was the kindest most calm and wonderful man I have ever had the pleasure to work with.  Whilst I’m not sure that grief was the right word for how I have felt since this happened in January it has really made me open my eyes.  Almost like I am seeing the world again with a fresh pair of eyes and appreciate things a lot more than I have been.  I then received and read this most and it’s almost helped fit that missing piece into the jigsaw that maybe I have been grieving in some kind of way.

So, to answer the question, I think for me my Goodbye Day would be spent with my loved ones, laughing and smiling all together, because I’ve learnt every single moment in life should be cherished.

Now over to Jeff…….


Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

‘Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately life-affirming’ Nicola Yoon

‘Hold on to your heart: this book will wreck you, fix you, and most definitely change you’ Becky Albertalli


#GoodbyeDaysPlaylist – Grief

One thing about grief is that it changes your perspective permanently. It can leave you with a determination to press on in the face of loss and live each day to the fullest. That’s sort of the best you can hope for from grief. That’s what this song sounds like to me: that warm spring day when you go outside and feel the sun and flower-scented wind on your face and you realize that you’re going to die someday too, like the person you lost, and so you might as well enjoy this beautiful world while you’re here.

This is the note I tried to end Goodbye Days on. 

You can buy a copy of Goodbye Days here or from your local bookshop!


About Jeff Zentner

Jeff Zentner is the author of the William C. Morris Award winning and Carnegie Medal longlisted book The Serpent King (2016) as well as Goodbye Days (2017). He lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others.

He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high school and college.

He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.

You can find out more about Jeff on his website – www.jeffzentnerbooks.com

Or why not follow him on twitter – @jeffzentner


Blog Tour

You can catch up with this fab blog tour and see the whole playlist at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Jeff for a fab post which held so much emotion in one paragraph it made me cry and to Harriet at Andersen for asking me to host, having me part of this wonderful tour and without realising gave me the post that I really needed to read!

Have you read Goodbye Days?  What did you think?  How you would spend your Goodbye Day with a loved one?   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 – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


Early in 2016 I was contacted by Harriet from Andersen about a book.  Her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.  That book was this book.  It completely took me by surprise and moved me to tears and it ended up featuring on my fave books of 2016 list.

Orbiting Jupiter was released in hardback on 31st December 2015 and now, on the 2nd March 2017, it’s being released in a gorgeous paperback so I wanted to shine the spotlight on it today!

I also have a little treat in store in celebration!


A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

You can buy a copy of this book here or from your local bookshop

You can find my full review of Orbiting Jupiter here

Here’s a tiny summary of my thoughts….

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which have stayed with me for quite some time.  Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.  The ending in the book broke me completely.  Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.


About Gary D. Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Andersen Press and in celebration of the paperback release of this gorgeous book I have a signed copy of Orbiting Jupiter to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter for a chance to win through my twitter account here

Ends 13/03/2017

UK Only


A huge thank you to Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to feature this amazing giveaway and for being so hugely amazing!

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

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Seven Things I’m Looking Forward To At #YALC by Julia Gray


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I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this gripping new YA fantasy, The Otherlife by Julia Gray.

The Otherlife was released on the 7th July 2016 published by Andersen Press.

A huge thank you to Harriet for getting in touch and for having me on this wonderful tour.

For my stop on the blog tour and as it’s YALC this weekend Julia is talking about her seven things she’s looking forward to at #YALC!


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I always get away with it when I try stuff like this. Partly it comes down to sort of assuming that I’m going to. I’ve got loads of confidence. And Loki got away with everything. Well, almost everything.

When troubled, quiet Ben begins at the ruthlessly competitive Cottesmore House, school to the richest, most privileged boys, he is befriended by Hobie: the wealthy class bully, product of monstrous indulgence and intense parental ambition.
Hobie is drawn to Ben because he can see the Otherlife: a violent, mythic place where gods and monsters roam. Ben has unnerving visions of Thor and Odin, and of the giant beasts that will destroy them, as well as Loki, god of mischief. Hobie is desperate to be a part of it.
Years later, Ben discovers his beloved tutor Jason is dead. And he can’t help wondering if Hobie – wild, restless, dangerous Hobie, had something to do with it…

Beguiling, shocking and richly imaginative, The Otherlife is about the darkest impulses within us all.


Seven Things I’m Looking Forward To At YALC

Buying books

I have a long shopping list, and fully intend to buy as many books as I can carry.  I read so much on my Kindle that it will be a delight to acquire some physical books for a change. Shelf-space where I live is definitely limited due to previous book-overdosing, but I shall make room…

Meeting authors

The first time I went to a book signing it was for Margaret Atwood’s wonderful novel Alias Grace at the Primrose Hill Library; I was positively star-struck. I expect to be similarly stricken at YALC.

Going to events

The event I’m most looking forward to is at midday on Sunday 31st July: my friend Imogen Russell Williams will be chairing a panel featuring Frances Hardinge, Tanya Landman and Philip Reeve. Definitely one not to miss.

I imagine the Harry Potter Party will also be very jolly.

Not being on a juice fast

Last time I went to YALC, I made the mistake of being halfway through a five-day juice fast. The strange, slightly nauseous light-headedness and general disorientation that result from juice-fasting do not mix well with the babble and hubbub of ComicCon. I remember feeling extremely faint and rather traumatised when I collided with a man in a Hannibal Lecter mask. Never again.

Visiting the Troubadour for brunch (or breakfast or tea)

On a food-related note, I cannot go to the SW5 area without visiting the legendary Troubadour on Old Brompton Road. I love the décor (the iron keys and coffeepots especially); I love the food; I love the pretty, leafy garden. I love that Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Joni Mitchell have all played there – and so have I, many times, in their gorgeously atmospheric basement. I also held the launch party for my album I Am Not the Night there.

Being ‘in conversation’ with my lovely agent, Louise Lamont.

Because there’s nothing more grown-up or glamorous-sounding than this. I adore talking about the writing process and the way a book comes together, and all the twists and odd directions it takes along the way, and Louise is a magnificent interlocutor. The journey to publication can seem very opaque from the outside, so I am looking forward to hopefully being able to make it a little more transparent.

Being a part of YALC

YALC will be the first major event that I will be attending as an author, not a spectator. The YA community is such a welcoming, inclusive and interesting one – everyone I’ve encountered, from bookseller to blogger, is so open and communicative and passionate about literature for children and teens. I feel very lucky to have been asked, and very privileged to be taking part.

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You can buy a copy of The Otherlife here or from your local bookshop


About Julia Gray

Julia Gray

I was born in London and still live there today. I always wanted to be a writer of some kind, though along the way I harboured dreams of being a cartoonist and a professional netball player (position: Goal Shooter). I love words and music, separately and together.

My teenage years were spent writing songs, playing the piano in darkened rooms and listening to Joni Mitchell, Tom Lehrer and Metallica. I co-wrote a musical that whimsically wondered what might happen if Trotsky returned from the grave, and played my first gig at the Kashmir Klub at the age of eighteen.

While studying Classics at UCL I co-founded the trip-hop band Second Person with Mark Maclaine and Alvaro Lopez, and over the next seven years we released three independent albums – Chromatography, The Elements, and Come to Dust. In 2008 I returned to acoustic music and recorded my solo album I Am Not The Night with producer Tristan Ivemy. My followup album, Robber Bride, was produced by award-winning South African producer Paul Ressel and supported by the Arts Council. It was released in June 2014.

I have a post-graduate certificate in Children’s Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. My debut novel The Otherlife will be published by Andersen Press in July 2016.

You can find out more about Julia on her website – www.thisisjuliagray.com

Or why not follow Julia on twitter using – @thisisjuliagray


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the below stops.

Otherlife blog tour graphic


A huge huge thank you to Julia for such a fab guest post and for Harriet at Andersen Press for asking me to take part!

Have you read The Otherlife?  What did you think?  Will you be going to grab a copy?  What are you excited for YALC?  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!

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Review – Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt


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A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.
What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.


Publisher – Andersen Press

Date Published – 31 December 2015

Pages – 192 pages

Format – Hardback

Category – Contemporary YA

Source –

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


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


“Sometimes it’s like that. You know something good is coming, and even though it’s not even close yet, still, just knowing it’s coming is enough”

When Harriet at Andersen Press contacted me about this book her email was filled with so much love that I simply said yes to a copy immediately.

Orbiting Jupiter may be a short contemporary YA read, but it certainly hit me with all the feels all at once which will stay with me for quite some time.

Orbiting Jupiter is a story about love, family and friendship and a message of never giving up on what you believe in no matter what.  I smiled, I shed tears and I felt so much love for these characters.  In fact thinking about it now is making me emotional all over again.

The story is told from the point of view of 12 year old Jack whose parents foster a 14 year old child called Joseph and he comes to live with them on their farm.  Joseph has had a heartbreakingly difficult childhood and circumstances prior to being fostered led him to spend some time in a juvenile prison which only caused him further damage.  Jack tells the story of getting to know this new member of the family and to understand Joseph’s past and situation.  Joseph finally has a family filled with love, a routine and responsibility, but the one thing Joseph wants more than anything is to find his baby daughter, Jupiter, who he has never met.  Even if that means confronting demons from his past.

The ending in the book broke me completely.

Joseph simply wants to be loved and beneath the surface he has so much love to give.  After an abusive and seemingly loveless upbringing he wants to feel part of something.  To have hope and love unconditionally.  This is something he feels deep inside for his own daughter although they have never met.

 “I can’t see Jupiter,” Joseph said. “The moon’s too bright. And I don’t know where she is.”

The complex situation with Joseph, his childhood, his daughters young mother and their parents is explained also so that the reader sees all sides of the coin and an all rounded view  but in a way that is easily understood and full of truth and emotion.

As well as the story leading us to gradually learn about Joseph’s back story it is also a story about Jack and his family getting to know Joseph and to show him unconditional love.  I loved Jack as a character.  Whilst all of the small town that they live in, the teachers at school and the bullies and class mates seem to pre judge and label Joseph without trying to get to know him, Jack makes the effort to get to know Joseph and to understand him and “have his back” at all times to protect him.  The relationship that builds between them touched me to the core.

One of my favourite scenes is the daily walk to school where the two of them always stop to throw stones at the church bell tower.  Such a simple scene but as the story goes on it is almost like a comfort to both boys and something that helps them bond.  I also loved the way Joseph bonds with one of the cows on the family farm and it gives him something to focus on.

“You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him”

I think that’s the thing with this book it is so completely simplistically beautiful and grabs your heart from the get go and never lets go.

I’ve not read anything by Gary Schmidt prior to reading this book.  Schmidt’s writing in Orbiting Jupiter, whilst it took me a little while to get used to the style, every sentence seems to be packed with emotion and perfectly crafted to give the reader the sense of the feelings and emotions of the characters, but from the point of view of 12 year old Jack.  The writing explores how he is feeling and what he is experiencing, but also Jack tells us exactly how Joseph is feeling in such a caring nurturing way full of curiosity and weariness at first and then love, care and concern as the story unfolds.

Selfishly I would have liked the story to have been longer and slightly more in depth and the complexities and story and characters explored more, but that’s why I say selfishly.  I think I just craved more and wanted to hold onto these characters for longer than the time I had.

Orbiting Jupiter is just as simplistic and beautiful as it is sad and heart-breaking.  Friendship, family, unconditional love and hope.  It will make you smile, it will make you angry, it will make you cry, but most of all it will leave you with the feeling that no matter what some things are worth fighting for.

 “Maybe angels aren’t always meant to stop bad things.”
“So what good are they?”
“To be with us when bad things happen.”

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

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You can buy a copy of Orbiting Jupiter here

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About Gary D.Schmidt

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Gary Schmidt is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He received both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and a Newbery Honor for The Wednesday Wars. He lives with his family on a 150-year-old farm in Alto, Michigan, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, and feeds the wild cats that drop by.

You can find out more about Gary D. Schmidt on his website here


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

 Happy Reading!

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