Tag Archives: Hot Key Books

Guest Post – I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA by Anne Cassidy


Today I am honoured to have the brilliant Anne Cassidy on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate one of my most anticipated end of 2017 releases, No Shame.

I recently featured No Shame as a book I was hugely excited about over on W H Smth blog here

No Shame was released on the 19th October 2017 published by Hot Key and is a companion novel to Cassidy’s previous novel No Virgin and explores the gruelling process one young woman must go through to bring her rapist to justice which I have heard Anne was moved to write after reading about the real-life cases of Ched Evans, Brock Turner and the Bradford grooming ring. No Shame is sure to be a thought provoking read.

Today Anne talks to us about why teenage friendships are important in YA in this fab guest post….


The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.


I’ll Be There For You… Why Teenage Friendships Are Important In YA

I focus on friendship in almost every book I write. As a teenager, friendship was everything to me. I was an only child and my need for companionship was greater than those kids who had brothers and sisters. Consequently, I was hungry for a best friend and the close friendships I had helped me get through some difficult times. When they ended, I was devastated. My novel No Virgin follows the main character Stacey Woods as her world collapses when she thinks her best friend, Patrice, is lying to her. These feelings of isolation make her feel vulnerable and easy prey to a boy who is sweet and nice to her. Sadly, this nice sweet boy eventually leads to Stacey being attacked. In the sequel No Shame, it’s Patrice, among others, who support her through the trial.

For young children, having a friend is the first step outside the safety of the family. When they go outside that warm base, they are at the mercy of other people’s whims, likes and dislikes. It’s a challenge and can be brilliant if they find the right friend; but it doesn’t always end happily.

During teenage years, it is absolutely crucial to have good friends. Relationships with the family are changing: the need for privacy and room to develop are important and teenagers lean on other kids who are going through the same thing. In No Virgin, after Stacey has been raped, she doesn’t go to the police and she doesn’t go to her parents. She waits until she can tell Patrice. Patrice is a dominant person in Stacey’s life and Stacey adores her. She is Stacey’s support and lifeline. I admire the work of rape prevention charities like Safeline, whose research shows that this is reflected in real life. Victims of abuse often don’t go to parents or teachers, or even the police. The friend is the first person many victims speak to, making them an essential part of that person’s life and case.

This has its own problems. In the case of Stacey, she leans on Patrice too much. She has to face a court case on her own and make decisions that don’t include Patrice. She gets advice, but in the end it has to be her who takes that step forward. It’s only when Stacey hardens up and steps away from Patrice that she is able to stand on her own two feet. Friendships change and grow over time, just like people. I felt it was important in these books to write a friendship that evolves and goes through its own struggles. But at its core is loving and supportive- something everyone needs.

Teenage friendship is important in these difficult years. But being able to stand on your own two feet is crucial. Just as the warm family base gives the confidence to reach outside and find friends so the comfort of close friends allows the teenager to stride out into the adult world and be themselves.

Anne Cassidy is the author of No Shame (Hot Key Books, 19th October)

You can buy a copy of No Shame here or from your local bookshop


About Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy was born in London in 1952. She was an awkward teenager who spent the Swinging Sixties stuck in a convent school trying, dismally, to learn Latin. She was always falling in love and having her heart broken. She worked in a bank for five years until she finally grew up. She then went to college before becoming a teacher for many years. In 2000 Anne became a full-time writer, specialising in crime stories and thrillers for teenagers. In 2004 LOOKING FOR JJ was published to great acclaim, going on to be shortlisted for the 2004 Whitbread Prize and the 2005 Carnegie Medal. MOTH GIRLS, published in 2016, was nominated for the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2017 Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

You can find out more about Anne on her website – www.annecassidy.com

Or follow Anne on Twitter: @annecassidy6


A huge thank you to Anne for such a fab post and to Rachel from Midas  for asking me to host!

Have you read any of No Shame or No Virgin?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  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 Reading!

Tales Q&A with Juno Dawson


I am super excited to have our British Books Challenge author of the month for January, Juno Dawson on Tales today with a brilliant Q&A to celebrate the release of Margot & Me.

Margot & Me was released on the 26th January 2017 published by Hot Key and is set to be a brilliant read set in both war time and the 90’s.

Juno is also #BritishBooksChallenge17 author of the month for January 2017!

Check out the #BritishBooksChallenge17 Spotlight on Juno, her books and find out why people are loving her so much – here

You can find out more about the #BritishBooksChallenge17 here

And that’s not all!

With thanks to Hot Key I have a spare copy of Margot & Me to giveaway on twitter – here


About Margot & Me

Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery . . . and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart . . .


Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday Juno.  I’m so so happy to have you here!  I’m super excited for Margot & Me which was released on the 26th January 2017 so I’m over the moon to get to chat to you all about it.

 Can you tell us a little about Margot & Me?

It’s about the relationship between a modern girl, Fliss, and her overbearing grandmother, Margot. When Fliss discovers Margot’s wartime diary, she unearths a massive family scandal that changes everything.

 Can you tell us a little about the main character Fliss?

I wanted to write a character who was a little less ‘together’ than some of my previous characters. She can seem a little spoiled, a bit of a princess, but you learn she’s basically spent a lot of her teens caring for her mum, and she’s NOT impressed at having to leave her life behind to move to rural Wales.

 Can you tell us about some of the other characters in Margot & Me?

Margot is as much of a main character as Fliss. Her diaries reveal a very different side to her and you come to understand why she’s such a tyrant in the present! It’s a story about two teenage girls separated by fifty years.

 Both girls have a #squad and, as you’d expect from a Juno Dawson novel, a diverse #squad at that.

 What made you want to write a story that was set in both the present and the past?

I used to teach Year 5 history lessons about the evacuation and there’s something very evocative about that time. It’s a theme much explored in children’s fiction. It’s a way to get rid of parents for one thing and quite allegorical for being evacuated from childhood and into adulthood too.

 How does the story flow in the book?  Do we see the diary as entries or is it written as Margot’s story?

Margot’s sections are diary entries, Fliss’s are not. There are a lot of parallels – both girls are growing up in challenging times.

 As the diary of Margot is set during The Blitz in the 1940’s how did you find writing historical fiction?  Was there much research involved?

There was, although there’s nothing more boring that authors showing off about how much research they’ve done by putting it all in the novel. Why would a character living IN the 40s wax lyrical about how delightfully vintage and antique their surroundings are? It’s a story, not a non-fiction account of life in the war.

 What was your favourite scene to write in Margot & Me?

It’s a real weepy and I had to make myself have a lovely cry or why would anyone else? There’s something very cathartic about having a cry when reading. I can’t say much about it, spoilers, but the very last one is my favourite scene.

 What was the most difficult scene to write in Margot & Me?

The first page! This book has had more opening paragraphs that I’ve had hot meals.

 If you could sum up Margot & Me in 5 words what would you choose?

Moving, heartbreaking, cosy, witty and bittersweet.

 You have had some wonderful quotes from brilliant authors already ….will we need a big pack of tissues whilst reading?

Yes, for both crying and masturbation.

 This is your sixth fiction book (plus two non fiction) – what have you learnt, with regards to your writing, along the way?

I think you have to write for yourself. Don’t try to second-guess your readers or the industry. That way madness lies.

 Could you tell us a little bit about what you’re writing next?

I’m still working on my memoir, The Gender Games, which will be about in July!

 Thanks so much for answering all of my questions Juno! x

You can buy a copy of Margot & Me here or from your local bookshop

 


About Juno Dawson

Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.

Her next novel is the beautiful and emotive MARGOT & ME (Jan 2017) which will be followed by her adult debut, the memoir THE GENDER GAMES (Jul 17).

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up, MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health.

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education.

Juno’s titles have received rave reviews and have been translated into more than ten languages around the world.

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman.

Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music. In 2014 Juno became a School Role Model for the charity STONEWALL.

You can find out more about Juno on her website – www.junodawson.com

Or why not follow Juno on twitter using @junodawson


Giveaway

Don’t forget with thanks to Hot Key I have a spare copy of Margot & Me to giveaway on twitter – here


A huge thank you to Juno and also Tina at Hot Key for organising this post, embracing the #BritishBooksChallenge17 and providing a copy of the book for a giveaway!

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

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – A Guide To Sophie Someone’s Brussels by Hayley Long


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Not only am I part of the brilliant YA Shot team, but I also get to host a brilliant post with a super awesome author who will be appearing at YA Shot!

 I am super excited to have the lovely Hayley Long on Tales today with a wonderful guest post – A Guide To Sophie Someone’s Brussels!

I also have a brilliant giveaway so do check out the bottom of the post!

Hayley will be appearing at YA Shot in Uxbridge on the 22nd October!

yashot2016YA Shot is an author-run, author-led Young Adult and Middle Grade festival that raises the money and resources to run a year-long programme pairing libraries and schools for free author events to foster a love of reading, inspire a passion for writing, and encourage aspirations to careers in the Arts. YA Shot believe in equal access to books and opportunities for all – YA Shot brings UKYA and UKMG authors together to pursue that goal, supporting libraries and young people across the country. At present, YA Shot is a not-for-profit organisation but we’re seeking to become a charity.

YA Shot is a one-day annual festival based in the centre of Uxbridge (London). The 2016 festival will take place on Saturday 22nd October 2016. Around 70 authors are involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre, Waterstone’s Uxbridge and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops. YA Shot is run in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge.

You can buy tickets for YA Shot here

So come along and join in the fun!


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A remarkable tale of confusion and betrayal – and a very special girl called Sophie.

‘Some stories are hard to tell.
Even to your very best friend.
And some words are hard to get out of your mouth. Because they spell out secrets that are too huge to be spoken out loud.
But if you bottle them up, you might burst.
So here’s my story. Told the only way I dare tell it.’

Sophie Nieuwenleven is sort of English and sort of Belgian. Sophie and her family came to live in Belgium when she was only four or five years old, but she’s fourteen now and has never been quite sure why they left England in the first place. Then, one day, Sophie makes a startling discovery. Finally Sophie can unlock the mystery of who she really is. This is a story about identity and confusion – and feeling so utterly freaked out that you just can’t put it into words. But it’s also about hope. And the belief that, somehow, everything will work out OK.

SOPHIE SOMEONE is a tale of well-intentioned but stupid parenting, shock, acceptance and, ultimately, forgiveness, written in a brave, memorable and unique language all of its own.


A Guide To Sophie Someone’s Brussels

My most recent novel, Sophie Someone, is set in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium.  I knew my story was going to be set in Brussels before I even knew what the story was.  My logic for this was threefold:

  1. I knew the city because – a long time ago – I lived there for a while.
  2. I fell in love with the place.
  3. There just aren’t enough novels set in Brussels. There should be many, many more.  In fact, Brussels Fiction should become a genre of its own:  Bruction, maybe?  Or, actually, maybe not…

So anyway, I decided that Brussels was where Sophie and her family lived and this meant that I ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY had to go back to Brussels for purposes of serious research.  Just to remind myself what it was like.  The first time I went by myself.  The second time – I was very thorough – I went with a friend.  On both trips I took pictures of the locations and sights that would form the backdrop of SOPHIE SOMEONE.

Here they are:  Let’s start with…

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This is a street sign for Rue Sans Souci.  Although actually you probably don’t need me to tell you this.  When I was 20-something, I lived just around the corner from Rue Sans Souci but I always secretly wished that I lived on the street itself.  It wasn’t a particularly flashy street or anything.  I just liked its name.  Quite literally, it is No Worries Road.  What a fabulous place to live!  EVERY street should be called No Worries Road in my opinion.  Needless to say, this is where Sophie and her family live.  Ironically, they have a LOT OF WORRIES to contend with.  Life is rarely simple, is it?

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Just above is an actual picture of Rue Sans Souci.  I really liked that there was a massive random photo of a boy with his mouth hanging open on the side of a house.  I’m not sure whether this signifies his carefree lack of concerns or whether it is, in fact, a desperate scream of anguish. In my novel, I’m afraid Sophie is more likely to be screaming with anguish.  In fact, she’s so stressed-out, she finds it really hard to speak about what she is going through.  Her family’s muddle is so nuts she can’t even put it into words.  In order to tell us, she invents a coded language so that she can spill the beans on her mum and dad’s misdemeanours without feeling too much guilt.  As I said, life is rarely simple.

And now we come to…

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…the Palais de Justice.  Otherwise known as the law courts.  It is ENORMOUS.  Absolutely enormous.  In fact, King Leopold II demolished an entire neighbourhood to build it.  And it seems like it’s still being built because it’s perpetually covered in scaffolding.  This huge building stands on high ground and looms over the entire city.  In Sophie Someone, it is there in the background, reminding the people of the city that wrongdoers will be punished.  Maybe this is why Sophie’s mum develops agoraphobia and is too frightened to leave her flat?

And now for something completely random…

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Maybe the presence of the Palais de Justice is having the desired effect?  This is a piece of graffiti I spotted nearby.  It says ‘I love the police – sorry.’  For some reason, this public display of affection made me laugh.  In Sophie Someone, Sophie’s parents do NOT love the police – they are too busy hiding from them!

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Above is a picture of Place Flagey.  It is through this square that Sophie walks in the snow to see her friend, Comet.  As she crosses the square, she is intercepted by a group of boys on skateboards who call her names and cause her to question her family loyalties and WHO she really is.  ‘I am Sophie Someone’ she tells them and this soon shuts up the skater-boys.  By any standards, Sophie Someone is a pretty cool name, I think.

Not far from Place Flagey is this place…

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This is the beautiful Etangs d’Ixelles – one of several ponds which run alongside a very beautiful street in a particularly gorgeous area of the city.  Sophie’s friend Comet lives just opposite one of these ponds.  Lucky girl!  Mind you, Comet has some serious worries of her own to contend with.  I guess that no street can ever really be a No Worries Road, can it?

And lastly, I couldn’t show you Sophie’s Brussels without showing you….

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…the Manneken Pis.  The clue is in the second word!  It’s a very famous statue of a little boy obeying the call of nature.  It’s not an obvious moment to immortalise in stone but then again, that’s probably what I love so much about Brussels.  It’s a bit weird in places and not obviously beautiful, but it’s also unpretentious, honest, down-to-earth and fun.  Actually, it’s one of my favourite places on the planet.

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On Saturday 22 of October, I shall be in conversation with Rosie Rowell as part of YA Shot and we’ll be talking about our novels and the journeys of self-discovery that our characters undertake.

Hope to see some of you there!

Giveaway

To celebrate YA Shot, I am giving away a signed copy of ‘Sophie Someone’ and a signed copy of my non-fiction book ‘Being a Girl’ over on Chelley’s twitter here

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UK only please.  

Ends 26th October!


About Hayley Long

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I was born in Ipswich ages ago and grew up by the sea in Felixstowe.  I had a lot of different jobs before I started writing books.  Amongst other things, I sold shoes, folded sweaters, pulled pints, cleaned tents, guided people through a Tunisian souk, did vague things in various offices, and taught  English in Brussels, London, Cardiff and Norwich.  But for now, I’m devoting myself exclusively to reading and writing.

My first novel for teens was Lottie Biggs is Not Mad.  This was awarded the White Raven Award for exceptional and innovative books for children by the International Youth Library in Munich.  Since then I’ve had lots more books published, been translated into other languages, been nominated for a Costa book award – twice!!! – and been on the news – in a good way.

I live in Norwich with a house rabbit and a husband. The rabbit is pictured left.  The husband prohibits the use of his photo or any other image representing his face on this page.  So a drawing of the back of his head is given on the right.

You can find out more about Hayley and her books on her website – www.hayleylong.org


A huge thank you to Hayley for such a fab blog post and for such a fab giveaway!

You can catch up on the rest of the YA Shot Blog Tour here

Have you read Sophie Someone?  What did you think?  Have you ever been to Brussel’s?  Are you coming to YA Shot?  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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Guest Post – Libraries, Bubble Bath and Camels by Alison Rattle


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I am super excited to be a part of the YA Shot Blog Tour and thanks to the lovely author and YA Shot organiser Alexia Casale I have been paired up with the lovely and fascinating Alison Rattle!

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“YA Shot is a one-day Young Adult and Middle Grade ‘festival’ taking place in the centre of Uxbridge on Wednesday 28 October 2015 in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge. 71 authors will be involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre, Waterstone’s Uxbridge and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of 6 fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops. YA Shot is part of the ‘Culture Shot’ (now called ‘Culture Bite’) programme of events that the Libraries are organising across the Borough in October 2015.”

You can find out more about YA Shot by visiting the website www.yashot.co.uk

To buy tickets for this fab event click here

When I was paired with Alison the lovely people at Hot Key Books sent me a copy of The Beloved.  I’ve not read anything by Alison before so I am hugely excited to read this.  Thanks Hot Key!

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I am going to be reading this very soon as part of a read along for YA Shot Goodreads Group!

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Discussion about YA Shot 2015, particularly to link up with other people going and to discuss pre…

 

So now let me pass you over to the lovely Alison who is here today to discuss her love of libraries….


Libraries, Bubble Bath and Camels

I love a library. An anywhere library. A library in a phone box, a library in a coffee shop, in a van, on a narrowboat and yes – on a camel. The Mongolian Children’s Mobile Library in fact, which carries books via camel to remote communities in the Gobi desert. How cool is that? Or hot. It is the Gobi desert after all.

     And did you know, that before the Public Libraries and Museum Act of 1964, which made it obligatory for every council to provide its community with a free lending library, many folks used to trip along to their local branch of Boots the Chemist to borrow a book or two? Introduced in 1898 by Florence Boot (a lover of literature), the Boots Booklovers Library had 450 branches and over one million borrowers in its heyday. The libraries were situated at the back of the shops and were beautifully fitted out, with comfortable chairs, carpets and plants and flowers. For a small subscription customers could borrow as many books as they wished and when they had finished reading, they could return to books to the same branch they borrowed them from or to any other branch of Boots in Great Britain. So along with all your toiletry essentials, soap, indigestion remedies and of course, bubble bath, you could take home the latest romance, western or whodunit. Sadly, with the advent of cheaper paperbacks and the opening of more and more public libraries (hooray!), the last branches of Boots Booklovers Libraries closed in 1966.

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I love the idea of a library in a chemist shop. In fact, it’s that sort of quirky social history detail that I’m always on the lookout for. My first three YA novels were all inspired by such fabulous historical titbits. The Quietness was inspired by the horrific trade of baby farming in the 19th century, The Madness by the business of 19th century sea bathing and The Beloved by the true story of a mad preacher and a Victorian cult. And libraries have played a MASSIVE part in the whole research process for each of these books.

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   Yes, I know the internet is a wonderful tool. It truly is. But you can’t find EVERYTHING on there. And if you don’t actually know what you’re looking for, then where do you begin? But go to a library and rifle through the history and local history sections and you’re guaranteed to come across some brilliant nugget, some sparkling gem, some little piece of historical wonderfulness that you’ve never heard of before. There’s nothing I like better than settling down in a snug room with floor to ceiling shelves groaning under the weight of hundreds of books just waiting to give up their glorious secrets. It can take just one sentence, one photograph, one unusual story to spark my imagination and to begin the journey into a whole new world.

     It’s how I first learned that laudanum (a derivative of opium) was routinely given to babies in the Victorian era, that a woman walked every street in London to create the first A-Z map and that tea leaves were once used to clean carpets!

     One of my favourite libraries (which has since closed and moved its collection to a new building in Yorkshire) was the British Newspaper Library at Colindale. This library was an astonishing place, housing around 700,000 bound volumes of newspapers and magazines, some dating back to the 17th century. Inside, it was all high windows and wood panelling and smelt gorgeous; of musty paper, granny’s front room, polish and pencils. The majority of the newspapers had been transferred onto microfilm to preserve the original copies, but it was still possible to order original copies of many 19th century newspapers. They were delivered to your table in huge bound books and I cannot tell you how amazing it was to turn the crackling pages inside and to be transported to another time and place. Many of the newspapers were so fragile that the edges of the paper flaked off in your fingers.

     I spent hours in another century, reading of gruesome murders and the subsequent investigations and laughing at the claims of advertisements for products still familiar today. BOVRIL – imparts new strength and increased vitality to the system, fortifying it against diphtheria, influenza, colds, chills and other prevalent ailments. Ha! Who knew?

     The miscellaneous advertisement columns provided an invaluable insight into everyday life with adverts for ‘maids wanted’, ‘pianos for sale’ and ‘washing taken in’ placed next to sinister ‘babies wanted’ adverts…

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Oooh, I loved that place so much I could have moved in permanently!

     I don’t get the chance to travel to as many libraries as I used to, but my local library in Wells, Somerset is still my first port of call when I’m beginning a project, when I haven’t got a clue where to begin, when I want a warm place of refuge, when I want peace and quiet to work…in fact, any excuse and you’ll find me there. Like right here and now in fact. Now SSHHH, I’ve got a blog to finish….


About Alison Rattle

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I was brought up in Liverpool in the days when children could still play out on the streets and you only went home when your mum shouted you in for tea. But unfortunately I lost my Scouse accent after years of living in the Midlands. I live in Somerset now with my three teenage children (am I really that old?), my partner – a carpenter – an extremely naughty Jack Russell and a ghost cat. I yearn for a cottage by the sea.

Before becoming a writer I was a fashion designer and I still like to dress the part; much to the embarrassment of my teenage daughters. I was also a production controller for a group of newspapers, a painter and decorator and a barmaid. I now own a teeny tiny tea room and get to eat cake and talk about books all day with my lovely customers

I have written books for adults on subjects as diverse as ghosts, mad monarchs, how to boil a flamingo and the history of America. But writing for teenagers is the most satisfying job in the whole world.

I read loads every day and usually have three books on the go at once: one in the loo, one by my bed and one in the kitchen for when I’m cooking. I quite often burn the dinner. My favourite books are ones that deal with uncomfortable subjects and really get inside your head. I loved Jenny Downham’s Before I Die and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. Brilliant!

I was inspired to write The Quietness when I read an original transcript of a trial at the Old Bailey in 1871. A woman was sentenced to hang for murdering babies in her care. One of the witnesses was her 15-year old housemaid called Ellen. I couldn’t get this maid out of my head and kept imagining her life and what she saw and how she felt. I had to do loads of research for the book and learnt so much about the grim and gruesome side of life in Victorian England. Which of course I loved!

You can find out more about Alison on her website here

Or why not follow Alison on twitter using @alisonrattle

You can but Alison’s books here


Ya Shot Blog Tour

yashotblogtour1You can catch up and keep up to date on the YA Shot Blog Tour here

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A huge thank you to Alison for an absolutely brilliant guest post and to the lovely Alexia Casale for not only pairing me with Alison, but for organising the brilliant YA Shot!

*hugs to you both*

Have you read any of Alison Rattle’s books?  What did you think?  Do you have any fab library stories?  Will you be attending YA Shot?  Do let me know!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading

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Review – All I Want For Christmas by Esme Taylor


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Sometimes the best gifts are unwrapped…

A saucy Christmas novella to heat up your winter nights!

Ella is dreading Christmas. She vowed to change her life this year, and although breaking up with her boring boyfriend was the first step, she’s been too scared to take the next, and her life has become small.

But then, when working at a Christmas party, Ella meets Joe. The attraction is instant and convenient: neither is interested in more than a fling. While Ella’s been stuck, Joe’s been running. He’s been travelling for a year and has no plans to stop, but he’s home to spend Christmas with his huge, loud family. His father wants him to stay and join the family business, but Joe’s not yet ready for that kind of commitment and isn’t sure he’ll ever be. But as the snow and the presents pile up – and Ella and Joe’s clothes come off – Ella realises she needs to start living again. And that maybe all she wants for Christmas is Joe…


Publisher – Hot Keys Books Unlocked

Date Published – 7th November 2013

Pages – 73 pages

Format – Kindle Edition

Category – Adult Fiction / Romance

Source – Bought via my kindle


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


As I have failed so badly at reading any of my December / Christmas reads due to being distracted by pretty books coming through my letter box I thought I would make the effort and finally read one….although this one was not on my original list…erm!  It still counts though right? Right?! *gives cheeky grin*.  Anyway I am so glad I remembered this Christmas Ebook Novella!  A short but heart-warming Christmas love story – what more could I ask for?!

This short story is set around Christmas time and is about Ella who’s planning to spend Christmas on her own due to losing her parents earlier in the year.  Since losing her parents she has tried to completely change her life, but finds that maybe she has stopped living her life in the process.  Ella lives and works with her two best friends, Amy, who eats raw bread instead of toast for breakfast and Lee, who looks slightly like Dermot O’Leary (mmmmmmm).  Then Joe, the nephew of Ella’s boss Patrick, comes along with a bump and turns Ella’s world upside down and put the steam back into steamed Christmas Puddings!

This is an absolutely brilliant, romantic, adult fiction love story filled with friendship, romance, moving on and lots of Christmassy feelings.  The opening of this story grabbed my attention from the offset with a great reference to Dirty Dancing and great Christmas songs and Christmas film references, snow and a touching snowball fight that is sure to melt anyone’s heart.

I loved literally all of the characters and they were all individual and unique in their own ways which for me made me love the story even more.  They were all just so real and likeable that it made it impossible for me not to grin whilst reading.  Normally when I read a short story it always feels unfinished in some way but with this book yes I could have kept on reading, but the story pulls you in that much that you do not even realise or remember that it’s a short story.  The humour was absolutely spot on for me as well giving me more than a couple of good chuckles in the mix.

I cannot not talk about this novella without talking about a new discovery that I have never heard of before!  MOVIEOKE!  Basically the characters in the book work for a company that runs Movieoke nights where by you pick a scene from a film and act it out.  So basically Karaoke but acting!  I am fully intrigued!  I HAVE to try this someday!  I did a bit of research on the internet and it seems that Movieoke is a thing!! (click here) and I found a great article about Movieoke – here.  I think Jim at YAYeahYeah needs to set this up for #drinkya ?!  He he he

I also cannot finish this review without popping a little author bio up which I only normally do on promo posts, but this author bio holds a little tied with a red ribbon surprise in the form of that Esme Taylor is a pen name for her adult fiction and is such super fabulous author!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Esme Taylor spends her days dreaming about romantic scenarios (lately involving Benedict Cumberbatch and even more so lately about Harry Styles, but subject to change) and is thrilled to have the opportunity to write them down. She’s been writing fiction since she was a teen (romantic scenarios featuring George Michael), but didn’t finish a novel until 2004 (romantic scenario featuring a thinly-disguised Matt Damon). She lives in Lancashire with her husband (looks a bit like Christopher Eccleston) and two children and is the author of three YA novels under her own name, Keris Stainton.

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All I Want For Christmas is most defiantly for older readers and I know that there is another Esme Taylor short called Baby One More Time which I am going to read around Valentines Day.  I love the way Keris writes as she completely pulls you in as a reader and creates such fab, realistic characters and great stories.

You can by this ebook here

If you would like to know more about Esme Taylor / Keris Stainton and her wonderful adult fiction and superb YA books please check out her website – www.keris-stainton.com or follow her on twitter – @keris

Have you read this ebook novella?  What did you think?  Did you know that Keris Stainton uses a pen name?  Do you think you will read this book after reading this review?  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to click on the reply button at the top of the page to leave a comment or why not tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy

Happy Reading

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Review – We Were Liars by E Lockhart


 

WE-WERE-LIARS-cover

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.


Publisher – Hot Keys Books

Date Published – 15th May 2014

Pages – 240 pages

Format – Paperback

Category – YA

Source – Bought


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


Ask me what I think of this book…you may not get an understandable answer from me.  You see when someone asks me what I thought of this book I tend to go all high pitched, misty eyed and lose all power of speech and say ohhh and ahhh a lot whilst raising my hands towards my heart.  This book broke my heart into a tiny million pieces and even though I read this book back in August I am still piecing that heart back together.  I cannot think or even talk about this book without my stomach flipping, my heart aching and even now as I am writing this shed tiny tears of love.

Its hard to give this book the full review it deserves without giving too much away (don’t worry I won’t).  I have so much love for this book I really don’t know where to begin.

We Were Liars tells the story of a rich family, the beautiful Sinclair family, who own an island that the family visit and live on during the summer time every year. Each Sinclair daughter owns and lives in separate houses built on the island especially for them by Mr Sinclair their father.  Over the years the sisters have families of their own and still continue to visit the island in the Summertime with their children.  Friendships form between the inseparable cousins, Cadence (Cady), Mirren, Johnny and Gat the nephew of a family friend who call themselves The Liars.  The book is told from the point of view of Cady, who had an accident in the summer of her 15th year.  Now 17, Cady is recovering from the accident. But she has no recollection of the incident. In fact, she has very few memories of an entire summer spent on the island. With her family keeping secrets, Cady returns to the island in an attempt to uncover the truth about what really happened. The book takes you on a tale through the past, present and future and by the end you have the full story (and if your like me cry….a lot and stare into space for hours after finishing the book asking for your heart back).  Cady is a fantastic character as are all of the cousins.  I love the family tree diagram and map of the island at the start of the book which really helps give a sense of the family history and locations on the island.

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sinclair-family-tree The island imagery reminded me of when I was younger. I used to go to a bungalow that my parents owned on a site tucked away in a forest clearing.  It was beautiful.  We used to go down during holidays and on weekends. My brother, sister and I had friends all over the woods at the other bungalows around the site and often used to disappear into the thick forest or fields for hours on end.  The island and the friendships in this book reminded me of those times…memories that were special that are always remembered even as you get older.  A special time and feeling that only you know and hold deep in your heart.

My favourite part of the book has to be the messages that The Liars write on their hands.  Not only are they beautiful, heartfelt messages, they are so meaningful.

“Always do what you’re afraid to do”

“Be a little kinder than you have to”

I have to admit I did guess the end, but not until about three quarters of the way through the book, but this is down to the fantastic writing style as it almost feels like as Cady’s memory gradually returns your mind, as a reader, is opening up to the possibility of the ending.  Although I did try and talk myself out of what I was thinking towards the end and changed my mind on several occasions making the ending a revelation.

This book pulled me in right from the beginning.  The writing in this book is truly beautiful and magical.  I have never read any other E Lockhart books before but I fully intend to after reading this.  I have brought her new book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and as E Lockhart is currently over here in the U.K I am over the moon and lucky enough to be going to an event on Friday!  I cannot wait!

To sum up We Were Liars it is beautiful, stunning and is a real heart stopping treasure that you will want to read again and again and tell everyone else to read it immediately.  I loved the tag line of the book –  if they ask you the end….just lie!

Also a big shout out to goes to the fabulous Hot Keys Books.  If you have never read a Hot Keys Books title before they do a wonderful Hot Keys Circle on the back of their books which give an indication of what the book contains ie horror, romance, pranks, boys etc.  The Hot Keys ring on the back of We Were Liars simply says Liar, Liar, Liar, Liar!

Also at the time of publication Hot Keys Books were asking readers on twitter to tweet what song reminds them or makes them think of We Were Liars – this is my choice- Bush – Glycerine!

Today We Were Liars won the Goodreads Choice 2014 for best YA book of 2014!

Also check out when I met E Lockhart at a book event here!

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

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You can buy this book here

If you would like to know more about E Lockhart and her other books check her out on her website http://www.emilylockhart.com/ or follow her on twitter using @elockhart

Why not catch E Lockhart on her U.K book tour – for dates and venues please click here

Have you read this book?  What did you think?  Did you cry?  If you haven’t read this book has this review persuaded you to read?  I would love to hear from you!  Please feel free to leave a comment by clicking on the reply button at the top of the page or why not tweet me on twitter – @chelleytoy .  I would love to hear from you!

Happy Reading

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