Tag Archives: Egmont

Tales Q&A with Sally Nicholls


512SH-DoKfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Grab you deerstalker, dig out that magnifying glass and grab a bun break!  Twelve brilliant authors have written twelve brilliant mysteries for us to solve!

Mystery and Mayhem was released on the 5th May 2016 published by Egmont and is packed full of mystery and intrigue to test every super sleuths detective skills!

I am lucky enough to have received a copy of this book from Egmont and I have been loving the stories I have read so far although my deerstalker must wonky as I’ve not managed to crack the mysteries before the reveals!

*embarrassed face*

Today I am super excited to have the lovely Sally Nicholls, one of the twelve authors of the anthology on Tales with a fab Q&A all about her mystery story, writing and more!


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Twelve mysteries.

Twelve authors.

One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?

These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children’s crime writers writing today.

These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for fans of crime fiction and detection, especially the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, The Roman Mysteries and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.

The Crime Club are twelve UK-based authors who are mad about crime fiction. Clementine Beauvais, Elen Caldecott, Susie Day, Julia Golding, Frances Hardinge, Caroline Lawrence, Helen Moss, Sally Nicholls, Kate Pankhurst, Robin Stevens, Harriet Whitehorn and Katherine Woodfine can be found anywhere there is a mystery to be solved, a puzzle to be cracked or a bun to be eaten, and they are always ready for the next puzzling case.


Hi Sally!  Welcome to Tale Of Yesterday!  I am so excited to have you here!

Can you tell us a little about your short story in Mystery and Mayhem, Safe-Keeping?

 It’s set in a solicitor’s office in 1921. A necklace is stolen from a safe and one of the solicitors is accused of the crime, because he’s the only person who knows the combination. But Arnold, Stanley and Billy, who are the solicitors’ office boys, are sure he’s innocent and decide to clear his name. To do so, they just have to work out how the thief managed to break into a locked safe …

What inspired you to write a closed-system crime for the anthology?

Well, they’re a lot easier to solve! I remember getting very excited as a child when I actually stumbled across a real crime to solve – a break-in at the Quaker meeting I attended. The problem was, the robbery could have been committed by literally anyone in Middlesborough, which made investigating it rather difficult for a nine year old.

How important was it for you to feature boys who become the detectives?

The office boys were the first thing I started with, because they seemed like such good heroes for a detective story. I was interested to see how many of the other young heroes in the other Mystery and Mayhem stories have jobs, or help their parents in their jobs – workplaces are evidently good places to solve crimes. And I spent last year writing three books set in 1912, 1914-17 and 1935, so it’s an era I know well.

How easy was it for you to get the language right for the story?  Was it important to you? (I loved how I could perfectly speak the way Stanley would have)

One of the characters in the book I’m writing at the moment is a working-class London girl in 1914, so it’s something I’ve been researching. It’s harder to research than you might think, because most novels set in that period have upper or middle-class characters as their heroes, and the working-class characters tend to speak in awful Dick Van Dyke cockney.

One of the best books I read for dialogue is the utterly wonderful Round About A Pound A Week by Maud Pember Reeves, a Fabian study of London families living on a pound a week in 1913, which is well worth reading if you’re interested in the era.

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I loved writing in Stanley’s voice. I know some readers have struggled with it though.

How did you find writing a mystery story? 

Fascinating! Most of my books are full of angst and emotion and relationships, so it was great to write something that was so plot-driven.

How does writing a short story for an anthology differ from writing a whole novel?  Is there a different structure?  A different editing process etc.?

It’s more pared-down – anything that doesn’t absolutely have to be there has to go. But it really depends on the story. Safe-Keeping is very plot-driven, which made it very easy to write, because you just put in everything that has to happen to get the plot from A to B, and you have a story. (Even the ‘flavour’ like all the story paper stuff is really necessary to explain why the boys are so keen to solve the mystery). I’ve written other stories which are more about feelings, and they’re different again.

How do you plot a good mystery or how did you plot the mystery in Safe-Keeping?

I wanted to write a howdunnit rather than a whodunnit. I stole the ‘how’ part of the mystery from a book called Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman!

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Robert Feynman was a nuclear physicist working on the Manhattan Project with a side-interest in safe-cracking. Using the method used by my criminal in Safe-Keeping he managed to break into a third of the highly-expensive, top-secret filing cabinets used by physicists  building the atomic bomb in WW2.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I write all my chapters out of order, and then get very frustrated trying to tie them together with something approximating narrative thread.

Have you read any of the other stories in Mystery & Mayhem?  Do you have a favourite?

Of course – I read them all! I really liked Caroline Lawrence’s, because I could just picture the world she described – it reminded me a lot of my time in Texas. It’s also easy to try and cram too much into a short story, which Caroline didn’t – her story is exactly the right size for her word limit, which is harder than you might think.

And somebody should give Susie Day a contract to write a whole series of Emily books right now please.

Were you a master sleuth – did you solve any of the other mysteries in Mystery & Mayhem?

Yes, but not many! I would be a rubbish detective. I am not very observant at all.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished reading my friend Jo Cotterill’s A Library of Lemons, which is a love story to books and friendship, and made me cry.

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But I’m mostly still stuck in research reading – I’m currently halfway through Kids From Over the Water, which is another account of an Edwardian working-class childhood, and The Victorian Internet, which is a very readable history of the telegraph system. I’m using it to help write up some teacher’s notes for my next Barrington Stoke book.

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Are there any exciting plans for the rest 2016 or 2017?

I have a new book for 5-8-year-olds with dyslexia coming out in July called Billy Button: Telegram Boy about a match-making telegraph boy.

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I’m currently trying to finish edits on a YA novel about three very different girls who get involved with the suffragette movement. It’s called Things A Bright Girl Can Do, and it’s specifically about what happened to the suffragettes when the first world war started. The story we get told is that they all gave up like good girls and helped the war effort, but the reality is quite a lot more complicated than that.

Oh wow!  That sounds fantastic!  I can’t wait to read that already!

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions Sally.  I loved your story in Mystery and Mayhem!

512SH-DoKfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_You can buy Mystery & Mayhem here or why not visit you local bookshop.


About Sally Nicholls

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I was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. My father died when I was two, and my brother Ian and I were brought up my mother. I always wanted to write – when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say “I’m going to be a writer” – very definite.

I’ve always loved reading, and I spent most of my childhood trying to make real life as much like a book as possible. My friends and I had a secret club like the Secret Seven, and when I was nine I got most of my hair cut off because I wanted to look like George in the Famous Five. I was a real tomboy – I liked riding my bike, climbing trees and building dens in our garden. And I liked making up stories. I used to wander round my school playground at break, making up stories in my head.

You can find out more about Sally on her website – http://www.sallynicholls.com/

Or why not follow Sally on twitter using @Sally_Nicholls


Blog Tour

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

Blog Tour Calendar Final


A huge big thank you to Sally for answering all my questions and to Maggie at Egmont for organising not only this Q&A but the whole tour.

Have you read Mystery & Mayhem?  Which was your favourite mystery?  Did you solve any of the mysteries?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Detective Work!

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Guest Post – Being An Edwardian Debutante By Katherine Woodfine


The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth

THE HONOUR OF YOUR COMPANY IS REQUESTED AT LORD BEAUCASTLE’S FANCY DRESS BALL.

Wonder at the puzzling disappearance of the Jewelled Moth! Marvel as our heroines, Sophie and Lil, don cunning disguises, mingle in high society and munch many cucumber sandwiches to solve this curious case! Applaud their bravery as they follow a trail of terrible secrets that leads straight to London’s most dangerous criminal mastermind, and could put their own lives at risk . . .

It will be the most thrilling event of the season!

The follow up to Katherine Woodfine’s bestselling debut novel, The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow


The 25th February 2016 marks the release day of the follow up to Katherine’s debut novel, The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow……

The Mystery Of The Jewelled Moth

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth

Today I am over the moon to be featuring a fab guest post from the lovely Katherine Woodfine!

After featuring Katherine last year around the release of The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow ( you can find this post here ) I was so excited to be asked to feature another brilliant guest post and this time Katherine talks about…..

Being An Edwardian Debutante

Without further ado here is the lady herself…..


Manners, Mean Girls and Morals:  Being An Edwardian Debutante

‘Are you certain that this is a good idea?’ asked Sophie, for at least the dozenth time.

Lil smiled beatifically at her reflection in the looking-glass, as she tilted her hat to a better angle. ‘Of course I am. It will be fun – rather like acting and after all, I am an actress. I shall simply be playing the part of the perfect debutante.’

– The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth

For aristocratic young ladies in the Edwardian era, growing up happened almost overnight. The Edwardians had no concept of being a ‘teenager’ or a ‘young adult’ so until the age of seventeen or eighteen they were treated  as children – then, all at once, it would be time to pin up their long hair, lengthen their skirts, and exchange the school-room for the ball-room, as they embarked on their very first London Season.

This sudden transition from childhood to adulthood must have been quite an alarming one, especially because as debutantes (young ladies making their first appearances in society) they would have to go through the nerve-wracking ritual of being presented at Court. For this very special occasion, each debutante wore a head-dress of three curled white ostrich feathers, a white dress, and a pair of long white gloves. Accompanied by a sponsor – a lady who had already been presented, usually a mother, aunt or older sister – she would attend the Court Presentation, and when her turn came, be ‘presented’ to the King and perform her curtsey.

Once this ceremony was out of the way, a debutante would embark on the whirl of grown-up balls, parties, dinners, afternoon teas and events that made up the London Season. She would have the chance to dress in beautiful gowns, mingle with London’s high society, and most importantly, to meet eligible young men – though of course, never without the supervision of her chaperone, in accordance with the strict rules of Edwardian etiquette. For many young ladies, finding a suitable husband was the ultimate goal of the Season – years earlier, Lord Byron called the London Season ‘The Marriage Mart’, and so it still was during the Edwardian period.

For some girls, the highlight of their first Season would be their own ‘coming-out ball’ to celebrate their coming of age – and in The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth, debutante Miss Veronica Whiteley’s coming-out ball has an especially important part to play in the story.

Debutantes

Each of these Edwardian debutantes has a role to play in finding the missing Jewelled Moth!

Illustration © Júlia Sardà

To help locate Veronica’s missing jewelled moth brooch – which she is desperate to find in time for her coming-out ball – Sophie and Lil go undercover amongst the debutantes. There, they meet three of Veronica’s friends, Phyllis, Mary and Emily, each of whom has a role to play in helping our young sleuths discover the truth.

Writing about these characters, and the ritzy, glitzy world they inhabited was great fun – but it also gave me chance to explore what I can only imagine must have been the turbulent ups-and-downs of a girl’s first Season. Tightly-corseted (in more ways than one!), the debutantes had to contend with strict rules, high expectations, the pressure to look perfect, and a total lack of freedom or independence. What was more, they were constantly pitted against each other in a competition for social triumph that makes Mean Girls look tame.

Veronica is certainly a bit of a Mean Girl herself, but who can blame her when she has been so suddenly plunged from the sheltered, comfortable world of childhood and home into the strange adult world of London high society? Here, she soon finds herself grappling with some dark and shocking secrets, and alarmingly sinister schemes – but with the help of Sophie, Lil and her friends, her Season as a debutante becomes an opportunity for a coming-of-age of a very different kind.

The Mystery of the Jewelled MothYou can buy The Mystery Of The Jewelled Moth here or why not visit your local independent bookshop!


About Katherine Woodfine

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I spent six years working as Arts Project Manager for reading charity Book Trust. I was lucky enough to be the project manager of the Children’s Laureate, which gave me the chance to work with children’s writers and illustrators including the likes of Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson and Malorie Blackman. I also ran book events such as YALC (the UK’s Young Adult Literature Convention), managed book prizes and created materials such as Book Trust’s annual Best Book Guide.

I now combine writing with other children’s book projects, including continuing to run YALC on a freelance basis. In 2014, I started a monthly children’s book radio show, Down the Rabbit Hole on Resonance 104.4FM, which I run and co-host with Melissa Cox and Louise Lamont. Find out more about the show and listen to some of our past episodes here.

You’ll also find me chairing children’s book events and interviewing authors everywhere from the London Book Fair to the Hay Festival to Waterstones Piccadilly to the World Book Day Teen Fest.

Apart from books and writing, I love going to art galleries, Earl Grey tea, wearing cosy jumpers, going for long windswept walks, black and white films, red shoes, and of course, cake.

You can find out more about Katherine on her website – www.katherinewoodfine.co.uk

Or why not follow her on twitter using @followtheyellow


61uxVP9JOoL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth

You can buy these books here

Or check out The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow post here

A huge thank you to Katherine for such a fab post and to Maggie at Egmont for asking me to be part of the tour to celebrate the release of the book.

Will you be buying The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth?  Have you read The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow?  I would LOVE to hear from you!  Why not leave me a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

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Guest Post – How To Survive Sports Day by Katy Birchall


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Today, 7th January, marks the release day of The It Girl Team Awkward (The It Girl 2) by the hilarious Katy Birchall!

Happy Book Birthday Katy!

I loved the first book in the series published by Egmont, The It Girl.  It made me laughed so much my sides hurt.  Reading all about Anna who when she is not setting a girls hair on fire with a Bunsen burner loves nothing more than spending weekends reading comics and watching csi and probably eating milk bottle sweets.  She is a bit of a geek and you also see her hanging upside down at one embarrassing point in the book in front of EVERYONE!

You can find my full review here

I simply cannot wait to find out what Anna has been up to since I last left her!  I can imagine she will have me laughing with in seconds especially if this fab guest post by the author Katy Birchall is anything to go by!

I present to you – How To Survive Sports Day by Katy Birchall…


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If everything Anna does is going to be seen by more than 10 million people, then she’s determined to find something that she’s really good at. Everyone else seems to have a ‘thing’ – especially the new girl at school, who’s been distracting Connor with their shared love of art. Luckily the school sports day is looming, and Anna is limbering up!

What could go wrong?


How to survive Sports Day by Katy Birchall

In the second book of The It Girl series, Team Awkward, Anna has to face one of her biggest fears: Sports Day. It is the most dreaded time of year for the athletically-challenged and nothing strikes more fear into the heart than the words ‘on your marks’. ARGH.

So, as someone who can relate to this, I have decided to offer you my top tips on surviving Sports Day:

1. Throw up all over your Headmaster/mistress during assembly that morning. 

I never managed to achieve this but my brother did and it had highly successful results. He spent Sports Day reading books and sipping Calpol in his cosy bed while I was enduring the torture of hurdles.

(Seriously, what is the point of hurdles?? Why am I jumping over these stupid things whilst running? WHERE AM I RUNNING TO?!)

2. Hide behind a tree.

And if you are caught by a teacher, simply pretend that the tiny mark you handily have on your leg from when you misjudged a doorframe last week, is actually from hitting that stupid pole when you attempted high jump and thus you can’t possibly partake in further activities.

(This is obviously not a story told from experience. No, a friend did that. I never hid behind a tree or anything when I was 11. That was my friend. Yeah, a friend of mine. Who told me exactly what happened. So, yeah. A friend. Definitely not me. Let’s move on.)

3. Tell a teacher you have urgent government business to attend to.

And then when they tell you off for making it up, say something like, “OK, well, if you’re happy to deal with the consequences of me missing this urgent appointment then so be it. I’ll let you handle the phone call from 10 Downing Street.”

(The seed of doubt you plant in their mind will blossom and soon enough they will be ushering you away from the track. Just to be sure, at some point during the day when they’re watching you, put a finger up to your ear and nod as though you have a radio in there, like they do in the Secret Service.)

4. Switch round the ‘CAR PARK THIS WAY’ signs.

You can’t have Sports Day if there are a load of cars parked on the track, can you? Mwahahahahahahaha!

5. Realise that it doesn’t matter where you come in the race; that what is really important is whether there is an ice cream van present and if it sells Twisters.

Sure, Sports Day sucks and everyone knows that athletics is completely pointless but the best option is just to go along with the silly rules anyway and not care in the slightest if you come last. Nobody else does. Have a great day in the sunshine with your friends, dig into a picnic and laugh about your ridiculous friend hiding behind a tree.

I mean, who does that…?

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You can buy The It Girl and The It Girl Team Awkward here or here or why not visit your local independent bookshop 🙂

A huge thank you to Katy for making me laugh out loud whilst putting this post together!


About Katy Birchall

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

You can find out more about Katy on her website – www.katybirchallauthor.com

Or why not follow Katy on Twitter using @KatyBirchall

Want to know more about The It Girl Series?

I have featured some previous posts…

The It Girl Extract

10 Things I’ve Learnt Since Being An Author

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

Also check out this hilarious video!

You can buy The It Girl and The It Girl Team Awkward here


Another huge thank you to Katy for yet another brilliant guest post!  You never fail to make me laugh 🙂

Also a huge thank you to Alice at Egmont for asking me to feature this and sending me the book for review and of course to laugh 🙂

Happy Reading

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


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

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

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

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


Publisher – Jelly Pie/Egmont

Date Published – 30th July 2015

Pages – 256 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – MG / Children’s

Source –

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


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


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

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

Future Ratboy!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 OUT OF 5 COREY CORNER BOOKS!

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About Jim Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more on Jim’s website – here

Follow Jim on twitter using @BarryLoser


You can buy Future Ratboy or Barry Loser books here

Happy Reading

Corey!

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Review – The It Girl by Katy Birchall


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

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

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

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

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

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

5) Go to Africa and give out rice.

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

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


Publisher – Egmont

Date Published – 7th May 2015

Pages – 352 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – UK YA, Contemporary

Source –

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


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


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

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

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

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

Here’s what happened….


From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Fab Book Alert!

Hi Sofia!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speak soon

Love, me xxx

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From: Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Pigeon Saviour!

Hey Michelle!

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

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

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

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

 Hopefully we can speak soon,

Tell me more about this book!

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

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From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Friend?

And there was me thinking you were my friend!  lol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anna is also always hiding in a cupboard with Dog!

Love,me xxx

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From: Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Marvel!

Hi Michelle!

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

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

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

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

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

 Love,

Sofia xx

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From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: 10 BOOKS!

Hi Sofia!

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

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

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

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

What are some of your #AnnaMoments?

Love, me xxx

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From: Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Only 10 Books

Hey Michelle,

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

And no!  It wasn’t me!  Cheeky!

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

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

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

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

Love from,

Sofia 😛

*******************************************

From: Chelley.Toy@zingmail.co.uk

To:  Sofia.STRF@zingmail.co.uk

Subject: Lost photos!

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

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

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

Speak soon

*runs away from pigeons calling me Mommy!*

Love, me xx

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

12You can buy The It Girl here

Or why not add it to Goodreads here

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

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

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

or

A fab guest post on How To Avoid Sports Day here

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

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

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


About Katy Birchall

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

You can follow Katy Birchall on twitter using – @KatyBirchall


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

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

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

 Happy laughing at Anna!

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Guest Post – Creating An Alien Species by Sophia McDougall


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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 WAS COMPLETELY SOLD!

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

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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

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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!

Thsaaa1brighter

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.


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You can buy Mars Evacuees here

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Or you can by Space Hostages here


Mars Evacuees Reading

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


About Sophia McDougall

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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!

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Guest Post – The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine


 

Clockwork Sparrow foil

You are cordially invited to attend the Grand Opening of Sinclair’s department store!

 After the death of her father genteel young lady Miss Sophie Taylor must seek employment. She’s thrilled to join the staff at Sinclair’s, the most beautiful department store in London – and consequently – the whole world. There she enters a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and Mystery around every corner.

 Working at Sinclair’s, Sophie makes lots of new friends: glamorous aspiring actress, Lil, serial paper obsessed Billy, and Joe – who is on the run from underworld criminals.

 When the priceless Clockwork Sparrow is stolen from Sinclair’s grand opening exhibition, it is up to Sophie and her friends to bring the Dastardly villains to justice…

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is the first book in a sumptuous mystery-adventure fiction series for readers aged 10+. Fast-paced and compelling with gorgeous period detail, join Sophie, Lil and Billy on a splendid adventure. Enid Blyton fans will love The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.


The 4th of June 2015 marks the exciting release date of a new mystery adventure!

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I have recently started to read this book by the lovely Katherine Woodfine and I am completely hooked!  And just look at the cover!  So pretty!

I was so happy when the brilliant Maggie from Egmont contacted me to ask me if I would like to feature one of a few short videos of Katherine talking about what inspired her to write The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow!

I’m so excited to be able to share this on Tales today so thank you to Maggie and the team for asking me and of course Katherine for letting us get a glimpse into her world!

Look out for more videos popping up over the blogosphere between now and the 4th June!  So exciting!

Without further ado…..

1.) What Inspired you to write MOCWS


About Katherine Woodfine

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Katherine Woodfine is Arts Project Manager at Booktrust, the UK’s most prominent literacy charity. She is a true champion of children’s literature and throughout her time at Booktrust has project-managed the Children’s Laureateship and worked on a huge range of other children’s book prizes and initiatives, including YALC 2014, the UK’s first Young Adult Literature Convention, curated by Malorie Blackman.

 She has reviewed and recommended children’s titles online, in print and on the radio as part of the founding team at Down the Rabbit Hole, a monthly show for Resonance FM discussing children’s literature. She lives in London.

Follow Katherine on Twitter @followtheyellow.

Or check out Katherine’s website – http://followtheyellow.co.uk/


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Clockwork Sparrow

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 You can buy this book here!

Also check out Katherine’s brilliant article in the Guardian too – here

Keep up to date with Egmont too!
Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/user/EgmontVi…
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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/egmontuk/


Blog Tour

You can also follow the rest of the blog tour here and follow the trail of Katherine’s awesome videos  🙂

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Saturday 23rd May – Library Mice

3_) How did you decide to set The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow in a department store

Monday 25th May – YA Yeah Yeah

[Art work to follow]

Tuesday 26th May – Overflowing Library

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Wednesday 27th May – Middle Grade Strikes Back

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Thursday 28th May – Winged Reviews

4_) How did mystery stories help inspire The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow

Friday 29th May – Snuggling on the Sofa

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Saturday 30th May – YA Shot

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Monday 1st June – Egmont – Special Announcement!

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Tuesday 2nd June – Playing by the Book

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Wednesday 3rd June – George Lester Reads

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Thursday 4th June – Chouchett Blog


You can also check out another fab guest post from Katherine about Being An Edwardian Debutante here

Will you be buying The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow?  Have you already read the book?  I would LOVE to hear from you!  Why not leave me a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

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Guest Post – 10 Things I’ve Learned About Being An Author by Katy Birchall


The It Girl

Hilariously funny and deliciously romantic ‘clean teen’ fiction for teens. Perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison.

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

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

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

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

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

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

5) Go to Africa and give out rice.

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

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


I have recently read the hilarious The It Girl by debut author Katy Birchall!  I really enjoyed this book!  It made me laugh….quite a lot of laughter happened actually.  It is a really good fun read!  I highly recommend it!

I first heard about this book at the Electric Monkey Blogger Day back in February 2015 where Katy did a fantastic reading with her lovely editor Lindsey and they had us all in fits of laughter!

Check out my review of The It Girl here

To read an extract from the book click here for my spotlight blog post!

Or a guest post on How To Avoid Sports Day here

 The lovely Alice at Egmont asked me if I would like to feature a guest post from Katy on Tales.  I immediately said YES! and with thoughts in my mind of meeting and listening to Katy talk at the Electric Monkey Blogger day I asked whether I could feature a blog post that included some of Katy’s most embarrassing moments…..after reading the book it does make me wonder how similar author and character actually are……….

Below Katy has written a fab blog post on lessons she has learnt since becoming an author……..and its hilarious!


10 things I’ve learned about being an author

by Katy Birchall, author of The It Girl

1. You will start thinking your characters are real

And then you will get frustrated when people have no idea who you’re talking about when your friend does something and you go, “that is SO like Anna” and nudge people to agree with you. Then you remember that the character is someone you made up and the room will go quiet. This will freak everyone out but mostly it will freak you out.

2. You will suddenly have important, sophisticated meetings and it is essential that you act appropriately

Usually with important, sophisticated people. In my first meeting with Egmont I announced that I was a complete loser. When one of the editors kindly replied, “I’m sure that’s not true”, I replied, “no really, I am.” Sometimes, it’s best not to INSIST that you are a loser to the people you would like to publish your book.

 3. Spiders/ladybirds can bite your EYELID right before you give important talks (no, really. This happened.)

Which, by the way, is extremely selfish of said spider/ladybird. One day a doctor will finally be able to conclude whether it was a spider or a ladybird that bit my eye and when they do I will give that spider or ladybird a piece of my mind, that’s for sure.

(Blogger note – This really DID happen…..I was there…..*whispers*…I laughed…sorry Katy!)

4. If this does happen, it’s probably best to keep that information to yourself

Rather than stop in the middle of your talk to inform your entire audience that you happen to be very distracted by the fact that a spider or a ladybird bit your eyelid the night before and, by the way, your eye is normally not so red and swollen. This will most likely prompt a sea of raised hands from people who are way more interested in the spider/ladybird-bite story than talking to you about your debut novel which is the reason you are there in the first place.

(Blogger note – Yep you’ve guessed it….This really DID happen…..I was there….. *whispers*…I couldn’t resist asking questions….sorry Katy!)

 5. Editors are always right

No, seriously, it’s annoying. How do they do it? In a matter of minutes they’re able to throw light on a section that you have been battling with for days. According to those I’ve spoken to, the general consensus is that it’s all about practice and they’ve been editing books for years. LIES. This seems to me an unsatisfactory explanation and I reckon there’s something they’re not telling us. A secret potion or magical powers perhaps? Or maybe something a bit more Marvel-like such as they had an International Editor Conference which they all went to and were unknowingly blasted with gamma radiation! Just like The Hulk! And instead of turning all green and big they were given extra literary brain powers that enabled them to edit books really well!……………(It could happen)

 6. You will have moments of doubt

“No Mum, honestly, I can’t write. I’m terrible at writing. You know how I know this? Because I have been writing all day. Yes, that’s right. And how much have I written? ONE SENTENCE. Yes, mum, one sentence and it has taken me an ENTIRE DAY. And it’s not even a good sentence. I hate this sentence. You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to delete this sentence. There. Gone. You know what that means? I have written NOTHING in an ENTIRE DAY. This is the worst day ever, I can’t even write ONE SENTENCE. I am rubbish at being an author! What? What do you mean I could do something else if I really wanted? I don’t want to do anything else. WRITING IS MY LIFE. Are you INSANE?”

7. During the process of becoming an author, you learn odd things about yourself

When I get writer’s block, do you know what I do? I run around the room with my Gryffindor sword that my sister-in-law got me from Harry Potter world and it always does the trick. Yeah, seriously, that’s the truth. I genuinely find this worrying.

 8. Your friends and family will constantly make you cry

Tears of joy, that is. They say very supportive things when you don’t expect it and the next thing you know they’re making a weird face because all they did was tell you that they always thought you’d make it and now you’re trying to thank them but you’re sobbing so hard your mouth doesn’t form the words right. Instead you’re just making weird sniffly, blubbing sounds and they regret saying anything and question why they’re still hanging around rather than making up elaborate excuses to leave the room.

9. Everything around you becomes a potential idea for book 2

Your brain will never switch off and you will drive yourself mad with the fear of missing some incredible inspiration. You need an idea for your sequel and everything around you is a potential key to unlocking what that perfect plot could be. What is that on the floor? A sock! Could this be a sign? Perhaps a sock could be essential to the next book! I’ve got it! A magical sock! Anna finds a magical sock! No, no, no, you can’t write book 2 on a magical sock. Stop being so stupid, carry on with what you were doing and focus. No distractions this time. Wait. What’s this? A holepunch! Good God, that’s it! A MAGICAL HOLEPUNCH!

 And the most important thing I’ve learnt about being an author:

10. That being an author just happens to be the best job in the world

(Apart from maybe being a jedi)

Check out this hilarious video clip where Anna….I mean Katy chats about the book!


About Katy Birchall

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You can follow Katy Birchall on twitter using – @KatyBirchall

You can buy a copy of The It Girl here

For an extract from the book check out my previous blog post here

Check out my review of The It Girl here

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


A HUGE thank you to Alice at Egmont for sending me a copy of the book and for being generally awesome and also to Katy for an hilarious guest post!

I recently ran a giveaway courtesy of Egmont for a chance to win 1 of 3 copies of the brilliant The It Girl!

Thank you for all the entires, retweets and comments.  The 3 winners were picked at random via Rafflecopter and have been notified on twitter / email and they were as follows…..congrats!

*does a little dance!*

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

 Happy laughing at Anna!

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Spotlight – The It Girl by Katy Birchall


The It Girl

I am so excited!  Yesterday, 7th May 2015, marked the release day of the hilarious The It Girl by debut author Katy Birchall!

I first heard about this book at the Electric Monkey Blogger Day back in February 2015 where Katy did a fantastic reading with her lovely editor Lindsey and they had us all in fits of laughter!

I have been wanting to read this book ever since and I finally have a copy thank to the wonderful Emily over at Egmont!! *screams in joys and stokes the book*.  Thank you Emily!  I cannot wait to read this!

Today I am over the moon to bring you a brilliant extract from the book, a Q&A from the book and a hilarious video from Katy!

And it doesn’t end there!

The lovely people at Egmont have asked me to run a giveaway so YOU could win 1 of 3 copies of The It Girl!

Just brilliant!

A huge thank you to Egmont for the kind permission and providing me with the extract and the three giveaway copies of the book!

So kick back, relax and enjoy a sneak peak into the world of Anna Huntley….The It Girl!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

I also had a fab guest post from Katy Birchall about 10 things she has learnt since becoming an author – it’s hilarious – check it out here

Check out my review of The It Girl here

Or a guest post on How To Avoid Sports Day here


The It Girl

Hilariously funny and deliciously romantic ‘clean teen’ fiction for teens. Perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison.

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

Anna Huntley’s aims in life:

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

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

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

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

5) Go to Africa and give out rice.

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

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


About Katy Birchall

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Check out this hilarious video clip where Anna….I mean Katy chats about the book!


Extract from The It Girl

The It Girl 1

The It Girl 2

the it girl 3

the it girl 4

the it girl 5

the it girl 6

the it girl 7

the it girl 8

the it girl 9

the it girl 10

the it girl 11

the it girl 12

the it girl 13

the it girl 14

the it girl 15

the it girl 16

the it girl 17

the it girl 18

the it girl 19

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Giveaway!

You could win 1 of 3 copies of the brilliant The It Girl by Katy Birchall!

The It Girl

Yep!  Three winners will be picked!

Giveaway ends on the 17th May 2015 and the winners will be announced on twitter and on my blog on the 18th May where I will have a fab guest post from Katy Birchall herself!

Please note that there are only 3 copies of the book up for grabs with 3 winners being announced each winning 1 copy of the book.

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

UK and Ireland Only

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also had a fab guest post from Katy Birchall about 10 things she has learnt since becoming an author – it’s halarious – check it out here

Check out my review of The It Girl here

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

Are you looking forward to reading The It Girl?  Have you enjoyed hearing a little more about it?  Have you ever found your self in some embarrassing moments?  I would love to hear from you!  Wy not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !  Happy laughing at Anna!   sig2

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