Tag Archives: Robin Stevens

Tales Post – British Books Challenge – February 2018


Welcome to the British Books Challenge 2018!

#BritishBooksChallenge18

And it’s February already!!  I know January feels like the longest month ever, but I felt that it went super fast!  Just me?!

So if your new here – The British Books Challenge is a reading challenge that will be running here on Tales Of Yesterday between 1st January 2018 to 31st December 2018 and the main focus of the challenge is reading and reviewing books by British authors.

I have created a #BritishBooksChallenge18 summary page here which will also keep track of my own progress in the challenge too.

If you have not signed up yet there’s still plenty of time – find out more about the challenge here

Please note you can sign up to the challenge at any time throughout the year but only sign up entries made on or before the 31st December 2017 will be entered to win the sign up prize.

This is the second time I am hosting this particular challenge and I have lots of things planned for us all to discover some amazing British Authors!

I have been in touch with lots of publishers who have kindly donated lots of lovely prize packs for us throughout the year for the challenge!

Right lets get started!


January’s prize pack was kindly donated by the lovelies at Electric Monkey and Egmont and contained the following 5 books!

There was a fantastic 96 reviews by British Authors linked up on the January linky here!

And thank you for embracing our Author and Debut Of The Month – an amazing 12 of you reviewed with The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart and/or The Fandom by Anna Day and earned double entries into the prize draw!

That is totally amazing!  Thank you to everyone who has taken part!

I’ve picked a winner at random….

And the winner is…….

Liam @ BookWormHole with his review of The Fandom by Anna Day

Congratulations!

These 5 fab books are all yours!

Please email me your address so that I can arrange for your prize to be sent out to you!


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February’s prize pack has been kindly donated by the lovelies at Little Tiger and Stripes and contains the following 3 books!

A huge thank you to Little Tiger and Stripes for donating these brilliant books to kick off our February!

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One winner will be picked at random from the list of valid reviews submitted each month and will be announced in the following month’s review link up post. The winner will then have 1 week to contact me to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen. Obviously the more reviews you enter the greater your chance of winning and don’t forget you gain extra entries for any reviews by Debut or Author of the Month for February! It doesn’t matter if you only review one book (or even skip a month or two in the challenge!) you’ll still be entered for each review you do write.

Please Remember…..

Only participants with a valid sign up page that has been linked here are eligible for entry to the monthly prize packs mentioned on this monthly link up page – you can still sign up here

When you add your link to the Mr. Linky below please make sure you link directly to your review, not just to your blog/vlog (invalid links will be deleted)

Books must have been read and reviewed in February 2018 to count towards the challenge , however I am happy that if you read the book in January and reviewed in February to link those up as basically you are putting the review up in February – I am hoping that makes sense!

Also, please make sure that the reviews you link are for books written by British Authors – they can be born in Britain (living here or abroad) or they can be adopted British Authors (who were born elsewhere and now live here) but if they don’t fit into one of those categories then they don’t count. (as above invalid links will be deleted and won’t get you an entry into the prize pack). Please note that Britain includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, I’m afraid authors from Southern Ireland don’t count.

Also see the Author Of The Month and Debut Of The Month section for ways to gain extra entries each month!

And lastly feel free to share your reviews on social media using the #BritishBooksChallenge18 hashtag – it’s not compulsory but it would be fun to share any great British Books you have loved with others!

Lets get chatting and celebrating all of the brilliant British books and authors that we have and all of the wonderful British books that we are reading!

Always remember – never tweet an author into a negative review and be constructive.

For more information about the #BritishBooksChallenge18 click here

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge giveaways please contact me by email.


 

And the #BritishBooksChallenge18 Author Of The Month for February is…….

ROBIN STEVENS!

Here are ten absolutely true things about me:

  1. 1.  I am a woman. I really am! I do get a lot of letters addressed to ‘Mr Stevens’, though.
  2. 2.  I have a pet bearded dragon named Watson, and she is a girl too.

3.  I was born in California, and I moved to England when I was three. This means that I have two passports (like a spy), and that I could be the President of the USA and the Prime Minister at the same time if I wanted to be. If this writing thing doesn’t work out, I might consider it.

4.  I grew up in Oxford, across the road from Alice in Wonderland. If she hadn’t been Victorian and fictional, I think we could have been friends.

5.  When I was little, I wanted to own a zoo and write books about it. I also wanted to be married to Gerald Durrell. I dreamed big.

6.  Colin Dexter once sent me a fan letter. I met him when I was twelve and told him that when I grew up I was going to write murder mysteries. I must have been really insistent, because he believed me.

7.  I really did go to an English boarding school, Cheltenham Ladies College. And I really did sleep in a dorm, and learn Latin, and have school on Saturday mornings. I never detected a murder, though, which was a bit of a disappointment.

8.  I’ve been on University Challenge! I was the Captain of the Warwick University team. We didn’t win, unfortunately, but I did get to meet Jeremy Paxman.

9.  When I was at university, I did my MA on crime fiction. So I really do have a degree in murder.

10.  I used to work as an editor, helping other authors get their books published, but today I’m lucky enough to be a full-time author!

You can find out more about Robin on her website – www.robin-stevens.co.uk

Or follow Robin on Twitter – @redbreastedbird

When Hazel Wong’s beloved grandfather passes away, Daisy Wells is all too happy to accompany her friend (and Detective Society Vice President) to Hazel’s family estate in beautiful, bustling Hong Kong.

But when they arrive they discover something they didn’t expect: there’s a new member of the Wong family. Daisy and Hazel think baby Teddy is enough to deal with, but as always the girls are never far from a mystery. Tragedy strikes very close to home, and this time Hazel isn’t just the detective. She’s been framed for murder!

The girls must work together like never before, confronting dangerous gangs, mysterious suspects and sinister private detectives to solve the murder and clear Hazel’s name – before it’s too late . . .

 

Or check out the rest of the A Murder Most Unladylike Series or Robin’s standalone book The Guggenheim Mystery!

Also check out guest posts from Robin on Tales…..

Spotlight – Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

Tales Event – Arsenic For Tea Launch

Guest Post – Trains And First Class Murder

Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up any books by the author of the month (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw. So a double entry for one review!

If the author has multiple books and you read them all you will gain a double entry for each review of each book.

Look out for a special post from the lady herself sometime in February and there may also be a giveaway!

#BritishBooksChallenge18

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their titles through the British Books Challenge author of the month then please contact me by email.


There are so many good debuts coming out this month that it was really hard to decide which to pick…..

So the our #BritishBooksChallenge18 Debut Of The Month for February is…….

Sunflowers In February by Phyllida Shrimpton

Lily has died in a car accident. The trouble is, Lily’s really not at all sure she wants to ‘move on’ . . . This funny, heartbreaking novel is perfect if you loved John Green or The Lovely Bones.

Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road.

She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. And very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance, arrive and she sees her own body that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.

But what is she supposed do now?

Lily has no option but to follow her body and sees her family – her parents and her twin brother – start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .

A moving, startlingly funny and yet achingly sad debut novel from a stunning new talent.

 

Disastrous cook, chaotic parent, disorganised wife, terrible giggler, and survivor of writing a book from underneath a 60kg Newfoundland lap-dog.

You can follow Phyllida on twitter – @shrimpyshrimpy1

 

Don’t Forget…..

If you read, review and link up a review of Sunflowers In February by Phyllida Shrimpton  (in the same month that they are author of the month only) then that one review will get you an extra entry into the monthly prize pack draw. So a double entry for one review!

Look out for a special post sometime in February and there may also be a giveaway!

#BritishBooksChallenge18

If you are a publisher who publishes books by British authors or British author who would be interesting in promoting their debut through the British Books Challenge debut of the month then please contact me by email.


As well as following the hashtag #BritishBooksChallenge18 I would also suggest following my blog using your preferred feed subscription (by email by filling in the subscription box at the top of my blog , BlogLovin’ etc) in order to keep up with the latest news and posts regarding this challenge throughout 2018!

Thanks for signing up for the British Books Challenge 2018!  Happy Reading!

Now for the important part, make sure you link all of your reviews using the Mr. Linky form below. In the Your Name field please include your blog name, the title of the book and the author. Make sure the link takes me directly to your review or your entry won’t count and will be deleted from the list.

Name – Please add your name and blog / YouTube channel e.g Chelley Toy – Tales Of Yesterday

URL – Please add a direct link to your British Books Challenge sign up post here

Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets

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To display the widget for this post, please click here.

Guest Post – Trains & First Class Murder by Robin Stevens


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Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are taking a holiday on the world-famous Orient Express – and it’s clear that each of their fellow first-class passengers has something to hide. Even more intriguing: there is rumour of a spy in their midst.

Then, during dinner, there is a scream from inside one of the cabins. When the door is broken down, a passenger is found murdered, her stunning ruby necklace gone. But the killer has vanished – as if into thin air.

Daisy and Hazel are faced with their first ever locked-room mystery – and with competition from several other sleuths, who are just as determined to crack the case.


I am so so happy to have the brilliant super sleuth and friend Robin Stevens on Tales today!

*runs around in excitement with magnifying glass looking for clues*

 The brilliant third installment in the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, First Class Murder is released today, 30th July 2015!   I am so excited to pick up my copy this weekend at Robin’s launch in Cambridge!

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To celebrate the release day today I asked Robin if she would like to feature a guest post on my blog!  She kindly accepted!

As First Class Murder is set on a train we decided that a train themed guest post would be ideal!

And here it is….and it’s so so wonderful!

*jumps on train and settles in for the journey…choo choo*


Trains and First Class Murder

Trains have been a big part of my author experience. I met my agent at St Pancras Station; I got my publishing offer as I was stepping onto the train to go home after work (I took the call very calmly, and then I hung up and burst into tears on the businessman sitting next to me); I heard that I’d been shortlisted for the Waterstones Prize on the tube on the way to my office (I burst into tears, then calmly stood up and went to work).

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Trains are excitement, mystery, movement, possibility – I’m an endlessly curious person who gets bored very easily, and trains are the antidote to that. You’re going somewhere even when you’re not moving, and you won’t ever be quite the same person when you step off the train as you were when you got on it.

They’ve also been a big part of my life. I commute to work on the train every day, and write my books between the town where I live and my London station. I lived for a year in a flat that looked out onto the Elephant and Castle overground, so I could stare into each commuter train as I worked on my MA dissertation (about fictional murder, naturally).

And a train was the setting of my happiest holiday memory: when I was eight, my parents took me on a train trip through the Alps to Venice. It was a sleeper train, and it felt like magic. I remember staring out at the mountains and feeling completely dazzled by how big and bright they were. I remember waking up the next morning, with sunlight coming under the roll-down blind and the train slowing under me as we pulled in to Venice station. It was such a gorgeous and strange experience that thinking about it still seems a little like a dream – I’m not sure it actually happened to me, as opposed to someone in a book.

So, of course, it didn’t even occur to me to set my third Murder Most Unladylike Mystery on a train until my editor suggested it. As soon as she did, though, I realised that it was pretty much the book I’d been preparing to write all of my life.

My favourite Agatha Christie adaptation is the 1974 Albert Finney Murder on the Orient Express (Lauren Bacall’s Mrs Hubbard is pretty much the perfect character), and I’m obsessed with the way the book resolves – it really bothers me, morally, in a way that I just can’t stop thinking about.

I knew immediately what I wanted to include – a locked room mystery in one of the carriages, with all of the glamour and danger of Agatha Christie’s Orient Express: dresses and hats and jewels and sumptuous dinners (and screaming and knives and international spy plots). Because it’s 1935 now, in Daisy and Hazel’s world, a bit of the coming war creeps in (you can’t keep it out, not even in the nicest settings). And if Arsenic for Tea was Daisy’s book, all about her family, then this is Hazel’s – we finally meet Mr Wong, Hazel’s father, and as part of solving this mystery, Hazel has to do quite a lot of growing up.

Check out the First Class Murder suspect list here

I wrote the entire first draft of First Class Murder on the 7:45 from Cambridge to King’s Cross, and it made absolute sense from beginning to end. Even my author research – conducted on a real British Pullman dining carriage from the 1930s, with a five-course lunch, champagne and oysters – was a dream (You can check out Robin’s British Pullman experience here).

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A very bumpy dream – Hazel staggers and spills her soup because of that afternoon, when I discovered just how bad the suspension on 1930s trains really were – but a dream nonetheless.

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I think there’s a lot of me – and my trains – in First Class Murder. My memories of that childhood sleeper car journey are now Hazel’s – like me, Hazel looks out of a window at the mountains, and wakes to the sun on her pillow. Unlike me, of course, Hazel and Daisy face a murderer – as always, dead bodies seem to pile up around them – but apart from that small detail, I hope my sense of trains as a good place to be comes through.

All aboard . . .

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About Robin Stevens

71HqXfD7I5L._UX250_Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in an Oxford college, across the road from the house where Alice in Wonderland lived. She has been making up stories all her life.

When she was twelve, her father handed her a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and she realised that she wanted to be either Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie when she grew up. When it occurred to her that she was never going to be able to grow her own spectacular walrus moustache, she decided that Agatha Christie was the more achieveable option.

She spent her teenage years at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she’d get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn’t). She then went to university, where she studied crime fiction, and now she works at a children’s publisher, which is pretty much the best day job she can imagine.

Robin now lives near Cambridge with her pet bearded dragon, Watson.

You can follow Robin on twitter using @redbreastedbird

Or check out Robin’s fab website – www.robin-stevens.co.uk

You can buy Robins books here

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Don’t forget to check out the First Class Murder Suspect list here

You can also find out what we all got up to at the Arsenic For Tea book launch here

A huge thank you to Robin for the fab guest post!  It’s made me so excited to read the book and also eager to go on my own train adventure someday soon!

Have you read any of the Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries?  Have you managed to pick up a copy of First Class Murder?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Playing Detective!

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Tales Events – Arsenic For Tea Launch With Robin Stevens


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This is the story of how I had tea at three and then was worried all the way to midnight!

You see the tag line for the awesome Arsenic For Tea by Robin Stevens is…..

“Tea at three.  Murder at midnight”

*Looks at invite.  Sees the words 3pm, free tea and arsenic*

*gulps*

As I am here writing this I managed to survive!  Hurrah!  And have to say I had the greatest time at this launch!

On a cold February morning I set off into the unknown land of Cambridge.  I had never visited before so I was really excited to have a look around.  Its such a lovely town made even better by this fab display in the Waterstones Cambridge window!

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Walking into Waterstones Cambridge was a delight!  I had the shakes on as there were sooooo many books I wanted and I was on a self inflicted book buying ban!  Noooooooo!

I loved all the displays and super author chair in the children’s department of the store!

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And I loved the lovely cakes and tea that Robin had laid on for all of her budding detectives……although was there any arsenic present….lets hope not?!

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After signing lots of books Robin kick started the launch by thanking lots of people including family and friends and we then got to hear a fab extract form Arsenic For Tea!

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It was then time for Robin to cut the cake and for us to eat and chat!  Woooo hoooo!

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Photo thanks to @yayeahyeah with approval and thanks

We were even given these fab detective packs to fill in ….okay maybe they were for the younger detectives but I’m a big kid at heart!

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We then got an extra bun break treat as Robin read another extract from Arsenic For Tea.  This confirmed to me that Robin should record the audio book for both of her books as I love the way she read the extracts and would pay to listen to her tell me stories all day!

Either that or the Arsenic was taking effect!  Only joking! *nervous laugh*

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I got to meet some awesome people at the launch as well as Robin!  I finally got to meet Jim from @yayeahyeah, Charlie from @charlieinabook, wonderful authors Louisa Reid and Katy Cannon (thanks for signing my book Katy) and I got to see the lovely Mel Salisbury again!  There were so many people there to support Robin it was lovely.

I also had the privilege in meeting the lovely lady that is Gemma Cooper and got to witness the wonder of these super fab nails for myself!  Take a look!

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Photo thanks to Gemma Cooper with permission and thanks

Checkout the fab nails Gemma did for the Murder Most Unladylike launch!  How awesome! What a super cool agent Robin has!

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Photo thanks to Gemma Cooper with permission and thanks

After the launch it was time for any adult detectives to follow the mystery trail….it was a terrifying journey full of clues, dead bodies and murder weapons but we all made it…..to the pub!  Oh Yes! Hic Hic Hic

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It really was a fab launch and a huge thank you to Robin for having me and for all the lovely people I got to meet old and new making me feel so welcome!

Congrats to Robin on the fab launch of Arsenic For Tea!

*checks time*

*two minutes past midnight….phew I survived – Tea at three.  Murder at midnight! Yay!*

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On a separate note my son Corey read and loved Murder Most Unladylike but was unable to come to the book launch, but he managed to attend a detective class with Robin in Oxford a couple of weeks later!  It was awesome and he loved it!  He even wanted to turn back time and do it all over again.  Thank you Robin!

IMG_3180Also check out this fab guest post from Robin about Trains and First Class Murder the 3rd Murder Most Unladylike book here !

Happy Reading!

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Spotlight – Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens


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The 29th January 2015 marks the release date of the anticipated second Wells and Wong mystery, Arsenic for Tea, by the lovely Robin Stevens!  I can’t wait and my son is also very excited indeed!

Not read book one yet, Murder Most Unladylike?!  Want to read it before Arsenic for Tea comes out?  Then this competition is for you!

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Robin Stevens was born in California and grew up in an Oxford college, across the road from the house where Alice in Wonderland lived. She has been making up stories all her life.

When she was twelve, her father handed her a copy of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and she realised that she wanted to be either Hercule Poirot or Agatha Christie when she grew up. When it occurred to her that she was never going to be able to grow her own spectacular walrus moustache, she decided that Agatha Christie was the more achieveable option.

She spent her teenage years at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, reading a lot of murder mysteries and hoping that she’d get the chance to do some detecting herself (she didn’t). She then went to university, where she studied crime fiction, and now she works at a children’s publisher, which is pretty much the best day job she can imagine.

Robin now lives in Cambridge with her boyfriend and her pet bearded dragon, Watson.

Not read book one yet, Murder Most Unladylike?!  Want to read it before Arsenic for Tea comes out?

Never fear I have a signed copy of Wells and Wong book one, Murder Most Unladylike to giveaway!  Grab a #bunbreak and check out the details below!

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When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?

I purchased an extra signed copy of Murder Most Unladylike recently from Blackwells in Oxford to do a giveaway on twitter!

   I will be running a re-tweet, follow and win on twitter which will end at 11:59pm on 19th January 2015 with winners announced on the 20th January 2015!

Please note that if you win I will need your address to enable me to post the book out to you.  This will be requested via private DM on twitter.  Also if you could tweet me on twitter when you have received the book and maybe a picture that would be great!

The winner will be selected at random for each competition and my intention is to enter all entries into a hat and draw the winner out – the old fashioned way! 

Please be reminded there will only be one winner of the book and I only have one copy of Murder Most Unladylike to giveaway.

All you have to do is follow me on twitter and re-tweet the tweet using the link below.

U.K. and Ireland Only

@Chelleytoy

Click here for the competition tweet / giveaway

Good Luck!

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