Tag Archives: MYSTERY

Guest Post – Eloise Undercover Bibliography/Research by Sarah Baker


I am always captivated by stories set in the war especially WWII so when this little gem dropped on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago I was super excited!

Eloise Undercover by Sarah Baker was released on the 7th September by Catnip Books and I literally cannot wait to get started!

And today I have the lovely lady herself sharing some research and recommending some books in this fab guest post!


France, 1944. 12-year-old Eloise’s father has not come home in over a week, and she is getting worried that something might be badly wrong. When the Germans occupy Eloise’s town, and the Nazi Kommandant moves into Maison de la Noyer, things start falling apart. Through a chance meeting, Eloise volunteers to join the Resistance. Suspense, secrecy and danger follow her as, inspired by her favourite detective fiction books, she tries to find her father. A hidden passage behind a tapestry, a deportation list and a race against time… Will Eloise find her father? And what other secrets will she reveal?


Bibliography/Research

When it came to Eloise Undercover, I wanted to get the setting right, or as right as possible. I did an awful lot of research on the internet, spent quality time at the Imperial War Museum, asked my Dad many, many questions (he’s an unofficial WW2 expert) and read a fair few books. Here are some of my recommendations, or a further reading list, if you prefer.

You’ll note some are reference books and others are YA, middle-grade or younger.  They’re not in any particular order. I recommend them all.

Sisterland by Linda Newbery

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose by Annette Dumbach & Jud Newborn

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Last Train From Kummersdorf by Leslie Wilson

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden

The Lion and the Unicorn by Shirley Hughes

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett

The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett

The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall

Land Girl Manual, 1941 by W.E. Shewell Cooper

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

The Heroines of SOE (Britain’s Secret Women in France – F Section) by Squadron Leader Beryl E. Escott

The Snow Goose by John Gallico

What do you think? Have I missed an important read? What books set during WW2 would you recommend?


ELOISE UNDERCOVER by Sarah Baker, out now in paperback (£6.99, Catnip)

You can buy a copy here or from your local bookshop


About Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker is a children’s writer based in London. Her previous book, Through the Mirror Door, has been very well received by bloggers, bookshops and readers. Sarah has worked extensively in film, with roles at Aardman Features, the Bermuda Film Festival and as Story Editor at Celador Films. She writes guest features for a number of online magazines and blogs, including the popular #vintage baker finds pieces for Bristol Vintage. ELOISE UNDERCOVER is Sarah’s second novel.

You can find out more about Sarah Baker on her website – www.bysarahbaker.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @bysarahbaker


A huge thank you to Sarah for a fab guest post and to Laura at Catnip for asking me to host.

Have you read Eloise Undercover  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Are there any WWII books that you would recommend?  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!

Guest Post – All About Violet by Harriet Whitehorn


I love a good mystery and Harriet Whitehorn does just that with her brilliant MG mystery series!

Violet and the Smugglers was released on the 9th February 2017 in paperback published by Simon and Schuster and is brilliant for all of those super sleuths out there!

Violet and the Smugglers is the third book in this brilliant series with Violet and the Pearl Of The Orient and Violet and the Hidden Treasure being released prior.


 

 

 

 

 

 

And exciting news…Violet and the Mummy Mystery, the fourth book in this super series is out on August 10th 2017!

I thought it would be great to get to know Violet a little better so myself and Harriet have put together a master plan in the form of this fab guest post….



Meet Violet Remy-Robinson, an amateur Sherlock Holmes in the making…

Uncle Johnny has invited Violet and her friends to spend the summer with him on a sailing adventure around Europe and Violet couldn’t be more excited! But when she suspects that the captain of a boat nearby might be up to no good, Violet needs to put her detective skills into action… Could he be the head of a smuggling ring?

A beautiful package complete with two-colour illustrations throughout from Becka Moore. Perfect for fans of Dixie O’Day, Ottoline and Goth Girl.


All About Violet

I absolutely love lists so I’ve put one at the beginning of each of Violet’s adventures, giving you a little snippet of information about each of the main characters which will hopefully give you an insight into their personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Violet and the Smugglers, which is largely set in Venice, I tell you every one’s favourite ice cream flavour- Violet’s is mint choc chip, partly because she likes the way the words sound together. And if you’ve read the Pearl of the Orient and the Hidden Treasure you already know that Violet’s favourite foods include cheese and tomato pizza and hot crumpets with melted butter and her favourite possession is her “Best Young Detective Award”.  So I thought it would be fun to tell you some other facts about Violet that aren’t in the books….

Full Name: Violet Therese Remy – Robinson

Born: London

Birthday: May 29th

Star sign: Gemini

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite books: Just William, Tintin and Pippi Longstocking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best subject at school: Generally Maths and PE, but sometimes History if they are learning about something interesting like Ancient Egypt.

Worst subject at school: Music

Favourite Animal to see at the Zoo: Giraffes

Ambition: Torn between being a spy like James Bond, an explorer or a detective.

Heros and Heroines: Amelia Earhart, James Bond, Nancy Drew and of course, Sherlock Holmes.

You can buy a copy of Violet and the Smugglers or any of the other Violet books here or from your local bookshop!

And don’t forget…..Violet and the Mummy Mystery, the fourth book in this super series is out on August 10th 2017!


About Harriet Whitehorn

I was born and grew up in London, and still live here, which probably shows a great lack of adventure on my behalf.   I spend my time dreaming up new adventures for Violet and working on my new book, which is an adventure for older children set in another world.

You can find out more about Harriet on her website – www.harrietwhitehorn.com

Or why not follow Harriet on twitter – @deedeederota2

About Becka Moor

Becka Moor is a children’s book illustrator and storyteller living in Manchester. She studied illustration for children’s publishing at Glyndwr University, graduating in 2012. Since then, she has worked on a variety of fiction books and series as well as picture books.

She rents desk space in a stunning grade II listed building with other creative folk, has an obsession with cats and loves anything a bit on the quirky side.

You can find out more about Becka on her website – www.beckamoor.com

Or why not follow Becka on twitter – @beckamoor


A huge thank you to Harriet for such a fab post and to Simon and Schuster for asking me to host Harriet on my blog.

Have you read Violet and the Smugglers or any other Violet mysteries?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Baker Street Academy: Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond by Sam Hearn


I’m super happy to be spotlight this fab book as part of the awesome blog tour with thanks to Faye Rogers and Scholastic.

Baker Street Academy:  Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond was released in hardback on the 6th October 2016 and is a brilliant MG Detective Graphic Novel for any budding detective.

You can find out more about the book on Tales today as well as a fab giveaway!


John Watson has barely settled into his new school, Baker Street Academy, when his teacher announces a trip to one of London’s top museums, home to the world’s most famous jewel. But it’s been stolen! When police catch the thief it seems the case is closed. Can Sherlock Holmes uncover the mystery behind this extraordinary gem?

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

You can also add it to your Goodreads here


About Sam Hearn


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at Scholastic and Faye Rogers I have 3 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway to 3 lucky winners!

UK Only

Ends 05/02/2017

Please do check the terms and conditions on the rafflecopter giveaway before entering

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour

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


A huge thank you to the wonderful Faye for having me as part of the blog tour and to Scholastic and Faye for a fab giveaway!

Have you read Baker Street Academy:  Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond?  What did you think?  Do you think you could crack the mystery?  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 – Diaries, Writing and Detectives! by Julia Lee


I’m super excited to have the wonderful Julia Lee on Tales today to celebrate the release of the second Nancy Parker mystery, Nancy Parkers Spooky Speculations.

Nancy Parkers Spooky Speculations was released on the 5th January 2017 published by OUP and is set to be another cracking mystery!

A funny and energetic middle-grade mystery, narrated part in the third person and part through Nancy’s illustrated journal. Follow-up to Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection.

So today in a fab guest post Julia talks all about diaries, writing and detectives…..

And if you use those detective skills there may also be a giveaway at the bottom of this post!


About The Books

On this day 24th June 1920 I turned fourteen.

I plan to have a very exciting future now that I have thrown off the SHACKLES of SCHOOL! A detective is what I would most like to be. I cannot think of any reason why I could not be one. Except perhaps I am too young. And I don’t like blood.

Nancy Parker has recently been engaged in her first position – as a housemaid for the very modern Mrs Bryce. It’s not Nancy’s dream job (she’d rather be investigating crimes like they do in her beloved six-penny thrillers) but as Mrs Bryce starts to entertain her new neighbours with lavish parties, it becomes clear that something strange and interesting might be afoot. Local burglaries, a cook with a deep, dark secret – and Mrs Bryce’s own glamorous but murky past.

Will Nancy solve the mysteries while still keeping on top of her chores?

A hilarious and energetic middle-grade mystery, narrated part in the third person and part through Nancy’s journal.

Maidservants, Mystery, and Murder! Everyone’s favourite housemaid-detective is back! Now Nancy has a new job working at Oxcoombe Grange. It’s great except for one thing – Nancy is convinced the house is haunted! Ella Otter, now a reluctant pupil at nearby Seabourne Grammar School for Girls, demands a scientific investigation. Together, Nancy and Ella set out to do some spooky snooping, and to uncover the mysteries of the Grange’s cellars. But in doing so they make a few enemies, discover a few surprising secrets, and put themselves into a little more danger than they were bargaining for . . .

A funny and energetic middle-grade mystery, narrated part in the third person and part through Nancy’s illustrated journal. Perfect for fans of Murder Most Unladylike and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow.

You can buy these books here or from your local bookshop


Diaries, Writing and Detectives! 

11th January. Got up. Had breakfast. Went to school. Maths test. Raining again.

It’s easy to see why the diaries I began each new year in my schooldays never lasted more than a few weeks. Entries like this (they were ALL like this) only showed how unexciting my life was. I couldn’t seem to find my own voice in these words, plus I cringed at starting sentences with ‘I’. It was all too self-conscious, too boring, too – aargh, just fling the wretched thing across the room!!

So, with such a failed record of diary-keeping, what do I do? Come up with a series of children’s books in the form of a diary. It’s so much more fun to write one from someone else’s point of view.

I am writing this on the train on my way to begin a New Chapter in my life! That accounts for the slitely wobbly handwriting…

That’s how Nancy Parker starts her second adventure. She’s so much more enthusiastic about everything than I was at 14. Ok, it is a detective diary, so she’s bound to see more action than I ever did.  The year is 1920 – and, just coincidentally, the dawn of the Golden Age of English crime writing from which I have ‘borrowed’ a few ideas. Nancy is a bright but poorly-educated London girl. Her only real option in life, like so many from her background, is to go into service as a lowly maidservant.

But Nancy has big dreams and bags of courage.  More than anything she wants to be a detective and doesn’t really see why that shouldn’t happen.  She loves lurid crime stories and her brain works overtime on theories about those around her, finding suspicious behaviour just about everywhere she looks. And who is better placed to spot such things than a housemaid: unimportant, unnoticed, but expected to be working hard behind the scenes?

I can never resist a bit of a culture-clash between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ in my books – it’s an ever-present part of life and great for creating dramatic tension. The upstairs-downstairs nature of Nancy’s world gives me plenty of scope for this. Especially when she meets some mystery-loving children from the other side of the divide.

Writing Nancy’s journal entries let me really explore the way she expresses herself. She doesn’t hold back on giving her opinions. When events are really momentous, Nancy puts them in capital letters with lots of exclamation marks. And adds comments in brackets.  So I can indulge my love of !!! And of ( ). Even of ***. My editor at Oxford Children’s Books encouraged me to ramp up Nancy’s lists of suspicions and suspects, her diagrams and sketches, and the bits of evidence gathered and stuck into her notebook for safekeeping. Designer Holly Fulbrook and illustrator Chloe Bonfield went to town on how it all looks.

Does anyone keep an actual paper diary these days? But if you’ve started a new one, in whatever form – even if you’re not really struggling yet – think of it as a journal. Ignore the tyranny of daily entries. Just put in the momentous or funny or ridiculous things whenever they happen. Draw sketches, maps and plans, stick or scan in pictures, tickets and lists. Or just make stuff up, like I did.

And read Nancy Parker for inspiration! (Don’t hold back on those !!!)

You can buy Nancy Parker’s Spooky Speculations here or at your local book shop


About Julia Lee

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. As a young child I was ill quite a bit, which meant I could spend lots of time lying in bed, reading – bliss.

I grew up in London, studied English at university, and have an MA in Creative Writing. I have worked in education and for children’s charities, particularly in the field of disability. My career has really been a series of accidents, as I tended to fall into jobs rather than seeking them out, because all the time I secretly wanted to be a writer!

I have written award-winning short stories and a novel for adults as Julia Widdows, and also researched and edited a book about disability, inclusion and everyday life.

I have two sons, and live in Sussex with my husband and an unhelpful cat.

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

Or why not follow Julia on twitter – @JuliaLeeAuthor


Giveaway

With thanks to the lovely people at OUP I have 5 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway to 5 lucky winners!

UK Only

Ends 18/01/2017

Please do check the terms and conditions on the rafflecopter giveaway before entering

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A huge thank you to the wonderful Julia for such a wonderful post!

Another huge big thank you to Hannah at OUP for organising and for being so super wonderful!

Have you read any Nancy Parker books?  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?  Are you starting a diary this New Year?   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!

Tales Quiz – Which Character From The Thornthwaite Betrayal by Gareth P Jones Are You?


51qplkocvcl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

To celebrate the release of the awesome The Thornthwaite Betrayal by the super Gareth P Jones, which was released yesterday on the 20th October 2016 published by Piccadilly Press I am so excited to welcome the man himself to Tales Of Yesterday again!

*claps hands*

The Thornthwaite Betrayal is an brilliant companion novel to the hugely popular THE THORNTHWAITE INHERITANCE

51g6cr1svl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

Today myself and Gareth P Jones have put together a fab quiz where we are asking…

Which Character From The Thornthwaite Inheritance Are You?


51qplkocvcl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

Everyone’s favourite murderous twins return in The Thornthwaite Betrayal (Piccadilly Books). After a lifetime of mutual mistrust and devilish plots to take each other’s lives, orphaned twins Ovid and Lorelli Thornthwaite have finally called an end to their on going civil war. They are trying to live normal lives, going to school, making friends, not plotting each other’s demise – that kind of thing.

But when long lost Uncle Harry comes to stay, danger returns to Thornthwaite Manor. A chandelier falls while they are under it … a fire starts in Lorelli’s room… It seems that nowhere is safe. Who could be behind the attacks? Uncle Harry? His French Chef, Beaufort Nouveau? Tom the gardener? Nurse Griddle? Hazel the maid? Or perhaps Ovid is finding it hard to kick his old habits?

As fresh mysteries emerge from within the grounds of the Thornthwaite estate, no one is above suspicion because everyone has a secret in this much-anticipated sequel to cult classic The Thornthwaite Inheritance.

51g6cr1svl-_sx327_bo1204203200_51qplkocvcl-_sx323_bo1204203200_

You can buy a copy of The Thornthwaite Betrayal here


Which character are you most like? 

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

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


About Gareth P Jones

Gareth lives in South East London and divides his time between writing books, producing TV programmes, spending time with his wife and son, Herbie, and playing the slightly ludicrous number of stringed instruments in his front room.

His books include two series, The Dragon Detective Agency and Ninja Meerkats. His Standalone books include, The Considine Curse which won the Blue Peter Book of the Year Prize 2012. Space Crime Conspiracy and The Thornthwaite Inheritance, which won the Hounslow Junior Book Award, the Calderdale Book Award, Leicester Children’s Book Award, Sefton Super Reads, Doncaster Book Award, Rotherham Children’s Book Award, and Fantastic Book Award, Lancaster. His most recent book is called Constable & Toop and is a humorous Victorian ghost story.

As well as writing books he also writes songs about each of his books, which he plays on his regular school visits.

You can buy Gareth P. Jones books here

For more information about the wonderful author Gareth P Jones and his other books please visit his website www.garethwrites.co.uk or why not follow him on twitter using @jonesgarethp !

Check out a previous Q&A with Gareth P Jones here

Or catch my previous pirate review and extract of the first in the Steampunk Pirates series, The Leaky Battery Sets Sail – here

Or a cover reveal of Pet Defenders:  Attack of the Alien Dung!  here


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

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

Happy Reading!

sig2

Spotlight – Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel by Sara Grant


mystery-at-the-ice-hotel

I’m so excited to have been asked to take part in this fab blog tour for this brilliant new MG Mystery, Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel by Sara Grant.

Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel was released on the 6th October in paperback by Scholastic and is set to be a brilliant, fun and intriguing read!

This is the second book in the Chasing Danger series with the first book being released earlier this year!

51dbye4r2jl-_sx324_bo1204203200_

So today for my stop on the tour I’m going to shine the spotlight on the book and it’s wonderful author!

I also have a fab giveaway so do check out the bottom of the post and twitter!


51dbye4r2jl-_sx324_bo1204203200_

Fourteen year old Mackenzie is pretty sure that visiting her grandmother is going be the most boring holiday ever, even if they are going to a tropical island. But what Mackenzie doesn’t know is that the island is about to come under attack. Soon Mackenzie will trying to save herself, her grandmother and the entire island in the most exciting (and most dangerous!) holiday of her life.

mystery-at-the-ice-hotel

After surviving a kidnapping attempt in the Maldives, Chase and Mackenzie are off to the Ice Hotel in Iceland! What could go wrong there? But as soon as they arrive, accidents start to occur that seem targeted to scare – or worse, seriously hurt – the guests. When a body shows up frozen in an ice bed, it’s up to the two girls to figure out who is behind the attacks …before anyone else gets hurt!

You can buy a copy of Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel here


About Sara Grant

s6y0egcg

Sara Grant was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She has worked as an editor and is also the author of a number of books for young readers and teens. She lives in London and writes full-time.

You can find out more about Sara on her website – Sara-grant.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @AuthorSaraGrant


Giveaway

51dbye4r2jl-_sx324_bo1204203200_mystery-at-the-ice-hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have 1 set of Chasing Danger and Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel to giveaway to 1 lucky winner!

I am running this giveaway through twitter!

Just follow and Retweet!

You can enter by clicking here!

UK / IRE only

Ends 21st October 2016

Winners will be announced on twitter.

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

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

chasing-danger-blog-tour-01

Monday 10th October

Bookish Outsider

ArtsMum

Tuesday 11th October

Luna’s Little Library

Rachel Bustin

Wednesday 12th October

Bart’s Bookshelf

Fiction Fascination

Thursday 13th October

Library Girl and Book Boy

Delightful Book Reviews

Friday 14th October

Tales of Yesterday

The Reading Pile

Saturday 15th October

Big Book Little Book

Inspiring Imarah

Sunday 16th October

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Bibliobeth

 


Another huge thank you to Sara, Faye and Scholastic for having me on this tour and for asking me to host such a fab giveaway!

Have you read Chasing Danger or Chasing Danger: Mystery At The Ice Hotel?  What did you think?  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!

sig2

Tales Q&A with Laura Wood


Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx

I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this fabulous MG mystery Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx by Laura Wood.

Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx is the second book in this fab mystery series and was released on the 1st September 2016 published in by Scholastic.

The first in the series, Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse was released last year.

You can find out about the world of Poppy Pym in this previous guest post – here

A huge thank you to Faye Rogers, Laura Wood and Scholastic for having me on this wonderful tour and to Scholastic for sending me a copy of the book to read.

For my stop on the blog tour I have been lucky enough to put some questions to the lovely author herself Laura Wood!


Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's CurseWinner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing. Poppy Pym has grown up in the circus, eating candy floss for breakfast and learning about lion taming … until her circus family decides she needs a more traditional education, and they send her to boarding school. At first, Poppy has trouble fitting in at St Smithen’s, a school that is very different from the circus. But when an ancient Egyptian ruby comes to the school and dangerous accidents start occurring, it’s up to Poppy to save her new home and solve the mystery of the Pharaoh’s curse!

Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx

From the Winner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit. 


Hi Laura!  Thank you for joining me today!  I’m so thrilled to have you here today!

So lets get started with the first question…..

Who is Poppy Pym?

 Poppy Pym is an eleven-year-old girl with a passion for sleuthing. As a baby she was abandoned at a travelling circus where she was raised by an eccentric family of performers before being sent off to fancy boarding school, Saint Smithen’s.

 Can you tell us a little about the second Poppy Pym story Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx?

The second book is set at Halloween and after a mysterious fire leaves a local amateur production of Macbeth without a venue, the performance is moved to Saint Smithen’s. Was the fire really an accident, or is something more sinister at work? Poppy and her pals are hot on the case when a second mystery comes along. But can Poppy find the culprit behind the fire and track down the lost gold of Phineas Scrimshaw, or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

What is a Double Jinx?

The double jinx refers to the two mysteries that Poppy finds herself investigating. The curse of ‘The Scottish Play’ is pretty well-known and offers lots of comedy potential, and I really liked the idea of a doomed production of Macbeth sitting at the centre of the story. The treasure hunt that Poppy and her friends find themselves on also carries a rumoured jinx, so Poppy’s feeling overwhelmed by lots of bad luck. I found myself coming back to the three witches’ lines from the play: “Double, double toil and trouble…”  and the fact that with this double mystery, Poppy really does find herself in double the amount of trouble. Also, I loved that double jinx brings to mind the game of jinx that we all used to play. Can someone please say Laura Clare Wood three times?!

 Have you ever experienced anything that you felt was jinxed?

 I don’t think so, although I can be quite superstitious. I always greet single magpies very politely.

 What inspired you to write Poppy’s story?

 I wrote the first book as an entry for the Montegrappa Scholastic competition for New Children’s Writing, which I was lucky enough to win in 2014. I had the idea for a long time before that but I was too scared to do anything with it. When I read about the competition I remember that one of the judges specifically said, if you’ve been too nervous to submit something in the past, give it a go, we’re so excited to read it! I don’t know why, but that gave me the push to get it down on paper. I wonder now if maybe the thought of entering a competition made me feel less vulnerable, somehow. I’m not really sure what it was but I nearly didn’t enter and I think about that quite often now, how taking a chance and having a go at something scary changed my life so dramatically.

Which of your characters from the Poppy Pym books would you most like to spend the day with?

Good Question! I think Fanella would be good comedy value.

 What was your favourite scene to write?

 I loved expanding Poppy’s world a bit in this book so my favourite scene to write was the one where Poppy goes into the town of Brimwell for the first time. It was total wish fulfilment, writing about excellent tea shops and bookshops and more eccentric, loveable characters.

 If Poppy had a theme song what would it be?

Oh, definitely something of her own composition! I’m 99% sure she already has one worked out!

Will we be getting any more Poppy adventures?

Yes! I’m so excited! I can’t say much at the moment, but I’ve just finished the first draft of book three and I love it.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Laura Wood?

  • I’m a pretty fluent speaker of igpay atinlay
  • When I was 18 I travelled around the world by myself, with a backpack almost the same size as me.
  • I have a little brother who is now much much taller than me. His REAL name is Thomas but for his whole life he’s been called Harry. You’d have to ask my mum why.
  • When I was little I drew inspiration from Matilda and used to punish my brother if I felt he had annoyed me by squirting liquid soap on his toothbrush. (Sorry, Harry! I love you!)
  • One Christmas my boyfriend and I decided to make each other Christmas presents. I made him a book called Ho Ho Ho Beantown! and a papier-mâché peanut. We never did this again.

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

 So many! I read all sorts, but I would say that Enid Blyton is maybe the biggest inspiration behind the Poppy books. I loved the Famous Five and Secret Seven, but also Malory Towers, and Poppy brings bits of all of those together. I didn’t read them growing up because they didn’t exist,  but I also love the madcap antics in Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum books, so there’s a bit of that in there too.

41HVSCT4S1L._SX290_BO1,204,203,200_mr gum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Again, lots. I recently read the first Alfie Bloom book by Gabrielle Kent and had a serious case of author envy… what a great book! I can’t wait to read the second one.

5193lGA-JgL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

 What are you currently reading?

My to-read pile is massive, but I’ve just started The Invitation by Lucy Foley.

51FQiDy3zQL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

What is your favourite book of 2016 so far?

I don’t tend to read things when they first come out, but I really loved The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. If a book is pitched as Buffy meets Georgette Heyer then I’m definitely in.

61XOKm43r9L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

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

I am obsessed with picture books. I love them and would love to write one but I am truly terrible at art, so there are lots of illustrators I dream about working with. Top of my list would be Emma Yarlett – I love her books.

51hjQroa0fL._SX435_BO1,204,203,200_

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

It doesn’t look very interesting! I spend a lot of time mulling things over before I put anything on paper. I really live with it for months (or years!) adding little details and thinking about the story, even repeating lines of dialogue to myself until they’re stored away. Eventually I will write a one-page synopsis and go from there. Because I’ve let the story tick away in my brain for such a long time the actual writing is usually very quick.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

 I like to write by hand as much as possible and then type things up afterwards. I find a computer screen can be a bit daunting. I also have a pair of blue leggings covered in foxes and if I need to get a lot of work done then those seem to have the magic in them!

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

Loads but I’m not allowed to tell you about them yet!

How exciting!

A huge thank to Laura for being here today and answering all of my questions!

Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's CursePoppy Pym and the Double Jinx

You can buy a copy of Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx here or from your local bookshop!

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

Also check out this previous guest post with Laura Wood about the world of Poppy Pym – here


About Laura Wood

Laura Wood

Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing. She has just completed her PhD at the University of Warwick studying the figure of the reader in nineteenth century literature. POPPY PYM AND THE PHARAOH’S CURSE was her first novel.

You can find our more about Laura Wood on her website – www.lauraclarewood.com

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @lauraclarewood

Laura is also on Instagram – lauracwood and Facebook – laurawoodauthor


Blog Tour

Catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

Poppy-Pym-2-Blog-Tour-Banner

Thursday 1st September

Rachel Bustin

An Awfully Big Adventure

Friday 2nd September

Bookish Outsider

Library Girl and Book Boy

Saturday 3rd September

Fiction Fascination

Sunday 4th September

Tales of Yesterday

Monday 5th September

Book Lover Jo

Big Book Little Book

Tuesday 6th September

Luna’s Little Library

So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday 7th September

Heather Reviews

Wonderfully Bookish

 

 


 


A huge huge thank you to Laura for answering all my questions and to Faye Rogers for organising and having me on this fab blog tour!

Have you read any of the Poppy Pym series?  What did you think?  Are you excited for the Double Jinx?   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!

sig2

Guest Post – 10 Stupid Facts I Learned While Researching A Book by Dan Metcalf


61hjvVRn8mL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_617eumaIvoL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am super excited to have been asked to feature a fab guest post to celebrate the publication of two new Lottie Lipton books, The Catacombs Of Chaos and The Eagle Of Rome by Dan Metcalf.

Lottie Lipton is a nine-year-old investigator extraordinaire and her adventures are perfect for any budding super sleuth!

The Catacombs of Chaos and The Eagle of Rome are published today on the July 28th by Bloomsbury Education and are the fifth and sixth Lottie Lipton adventures.  They can be enjoyed on their own or as part of this fab series!

Happy Book Birthday Dan!

A huge thank you to Dan Metcalf for getting in touch and for asking me to feature this fab guest post!

Today we find out Dan’s 10 Stupid Facts I Learned While Researching A Book…..


61hjvVRn8mL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_

Welcome to the British Museum, home to Lottie Lipton: nine-year-old investigator extraordinaire! Lottie has lived in the British Museum all her life – she thought she knew it like the back of her hand! But when she finds herself locked in a secret tunnel deep beneath the museum she starts to worry that she might never escape. Can Lottie, Uncle Bert and Reg solve the puzzles to find their way out of the maze of passageways? Perfect for developing and newly confident readers, Lottie Lipton Adventures are packed with action, excitement and puzzles for the reader to solve.

617eumaIvoL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

Welcome to the British Museum, home to Lottie Lipton: nine-year-old investigator extraordinaire! When a collection of Roman treasures comes to the museum, Lottie, Uncle Bert and Reg discover the legendary code of the Ninth Legion’s Golden Eagle. Can Lottie and her friends break the code and find the treasure before a ruthless treasure hunter gets his hands on it? Perfect for developing and newly confident readers, Lottie Lipton Adventures are packed with action, adventure and puzzles for the reader to solve.

Other Lottie Lipton Adventures….

61NuXb6S50L._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_61+JlwlpVbL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

61PnovsL8fL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_index

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10 Stupid Facts I Learned While Researching A Book

Writing’s a funny old business innit? While the whole industry revolves around imagination and making stuff up, writers will often find themselves wading through books in the library or browsing the web in the search for facts on which to hang their story. I’m no exception. For my chidren’s book series, The Lottie Lipton Adventures, I’ve been up late into the night looking for nuggets of information to put into the novels. As they are based in the British Museum and follow amateur sleuth Lottie in her treasure hunts and plots to foil robbers, the information in them has to be watertight. This is why I’ve annoyed my local library and used up my bandwidth searching for facts like an info-hungry Stephen Fry.

My latest tales, The Catacombs of Chaos and The Eagle of Rome, are out in July and I thought I’d treat you to some of the stranger morsels of content that I’ve come across in the name of education and entertainment:

1 )  In ancient Egypt, if the family cat died, it was customary for the family to shave off their eyebrows in mourning.

2 ) Stuffed dormice and whole roast ostrich were delicacies in Ancient Rome.

3 ) The Incas from Peru in South America invented panpipes, freeze-dried foods, and hanging bridges.

4 ) Big Ben weighs 13 tonnes

5 ) The British Museum’s collection contains at least eight million objects.

6 ) The Ancient Egyptians hated hair and preferred to shave it off and wear wigs instead.

7 ) The lions that surround Nelsons Column were designed by Edward Landseer in the 1800s, but the lions he studied in London Zoo wouldn’t keep still, so the paws are modelled on a cat.

8 ) The British Museum once had its very own London Underground station. Now closed, it is said to be haunted by the ghost of the daughter of Amen-Ra, the Egyptian pharaoh.

9 ) Cleopatra’s Needle, which now stands on the banks of the River Thames, was towed to Britain on a barge but it nearly sank in a great storm which killed six of the crew members.

10 ) When the mummy of Ramesses II had to be moved to Paris for scientific testing, the Egyptian government issued it with a full passport. The mummy’s occupation was described as: ‘King (Deceased)’.

61hjvVRn8mL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_617eumaIvoL._SX352_BO1,204,203,200_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy any of the Lottie Lipton books here or why not visit your local bookshop.


About Dan Metcalf

HEADSHOT1-300x225

Born at an early age, Dan Metcalf knew exactly what he was going to be when he grew up – tall. This was achieved before he even got to secondary school and so another career was decided on. The life of a chocolate teapot salesman is however fairly temperamental and so he decided to move to a job which was comparatively reliable – a writer.

He has written for radio, screen and magazines but is best known as the author of ‘The Lottie Lipton Adventures’ (although he is best known around where he lives as ‘That Weirdy Beardy Guy’). He is a full time writer and his biggest ambition is write a major children’s adventure series and create a superhero comic.

You can find out more about Dan on his website – www.danmetcalf.co.uk

Or why not follow him @metcalfwriter


A huge huge thank you to Danfor such a fab guest post and for asking me to feature this on his publication day!

Have you read any of Lottie Lipton?  What did you think?  Are you a super sleuth?  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!

sig2

 

Cover Reveal – Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx by Laura Wood


5c2b8e_04e3c7decbe74e1cb9bf5e0971149864

I am so over the moon to be able to reveal the cover of book two in the fab MG Poppy Pym series, Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx by the lovely Laura Wood!

Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx is due for release on 1st September 2016 published by Scholastic!

Laura is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing and the first in the series, Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse was shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children Book Award 2015 following it’s release last year.

51x6879o83L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

 Poppy Pym places a girl from an eccentric circus family into a classic boarding school story about friendship — all tied up in a mystery.

Narrated by the plucky Poppy, the story is enhanced with taped-in clues, conversations and other details from Poppy’s life !

You can find out more about The World Of Poppy Pym in this previous fab guest post here

Join in the conversation on twitter using #PoppyPym 


So what’s it all about?

It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit.


About Laura Wood

5c2b8e_04e3c7decbe74e1cb9bf5e0971149864Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing and the author of the Poppy Pym series. She is currently completing her PhD in English Literature at the University of Warwick.

You can find out more about Laura and Poppy Pym on her website – www.lauraclarewood.com

Or why not follow Laura on twitter using @lauraclarewood


Cover Reveal

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

Check out this wonderful cover for Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx!!!

POPPY PYM DOUBLE JINX

Doesn’t it look awesome!

It so full of intrigue and mystery!

Here are the two books together…

51x6879o83L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_POPPY PYM DOUBLE JINX

I am completely sold and I literally cannot wait to read it!

You can pre order Poppy Pym and the Double Jink here

Or the first in the series, Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse here

You can catch a Q&A with author Laura Wood here


A huge thank you to Lucy at Scholastic for sending me the cover to help with the cover reveal!

Look out for all the twitter posts and tweets using #PoppyPym

What do you think of the cover for Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx?  Are you intrigued?!  Have you read the first book in the series?  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!

sig2

 

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!


512SH-DoKfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

512DTWA1NDL._SX299_BO1,204,203,200_

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!

514umWHHCVL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

51chBLJyhmL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

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.

51WiLqyNMHL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_51Z0655DZWL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

51CDkWeue2L._SX376_BO1,204,203,200_

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

port

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!

sig2

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...